April 24, 2024

On the weekend I had a chance to see Michael Moores movie Sicko. Sicko as everyone no knows is a documentary that looks at some people that are on underinsured health plans and compares them to regular folk in other countries. I am a Canadian so I can answer a little to the Canadian experience but of course I do not know much about the other countries that Michael Moore went to.

First of all in Canada it is important to know that the federal government sets up rules as to what kind of care needs to be accessible to everyone in the country, this is known as the Canada Health Act. Care is not actually delivered by the federal government but instead is delivered by provincial governments across the country. This is where the fighting goes on with the provinces saying that the federal government does not give enough money and the Federal government mandating services that the provinces must provide. The system is huge and although there is a level of bureaucracy, I have always heard that the amount is very small on a per capita basis compared to the US, also of course the system is not for profit since it is run by the two levels of government…I am sure though that some money filters out through slippery hands though.

Anyway that is how Canada funds our socialized health care system, how about the care itself? In Canada you can choose your doctor and my family doctor will get me in on the same day if I have a real problem or a few days later if I just have some aches and pains I want to talk with him about. If there is a real emergency there are many walk in clinics around the city that I can go to instead of my family doctor where the wait would be 30 minutes to an hour. For real emergencies like stitches or broken bones you need to go to a hospital and the wait times in the emergency room of the hospital can be bad with people waiting up to 12hours for treatment. This is a horrible reality across Canada with levels of government working to address the problem. The other problem is with MRI or other specialized treatment which can have long wait times as well of up to a few months. Almost no one dies to my knowledge from waiting for treatment but it is bad in some cases having to wait a long time for surgery or for testing.

Cost is one issue that is always swept under the rug for Canadian health care. Even though the standard of care in universal, almost all provinces have no monthly premiums for health care except unbelievably Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, these are the three richest provinces in Canada and are also the only places where people pay a monthly health care premium. The premiums are about $20-$55 per person per month.

The Canada Health Act and the provinces do not cover prescriptions, eyeglasses or dental care but most everything else is covered including childbirth and even vasectomies as well as other day surgeries.

In talking to most Canadians you will find that most people are in favor of the system that we have. People always want to see better service but that of course would cost more money. The way that we in Canada really see the difference between our system and the American system is really seen when you go to the dentist. It costs a fortune to get a filling but if you get hit by a car and need surgery you pay nothing. So after watching Sicko I must say that Michael Moore may have exaggerated a little on the speed of service and coverage that Canadians get for health care but it was pretty well on the mark. I would love to see how the Brits, Cubans and the French feel about the way that their health care systems were profiled.

3 thoughts on “How good is Canadian Health Care?

  1. I was reading on a site that covers the universal health care systems of other countries and I have to admit that I really don’t know if I want the government having a hand in our system at all. Well, we all know that everything the government touches turns into s**t. Back to the article, the article that I read said that there were patients that actually died while waiting to see a doctor. There is a medicine for women with breast cancer but the doctors won’t give it to them cause it costs too much. Therefore, from what I’ve read and heard in my opinion, the government needs to just go find something else to screw up and leave our health care system ALONE!

  2. Nice Post. Very unbiased. I’m an american living on a boarder town so I hear a lot about canadian health care. I was really surprised that many canadians have private healthcare on top of public healthcare. From all the canadians I’ve spoke with not many have complained about the healthcare although many do complain about taxes. I spoke with a cuban once about cuban healthcare. He said it wasn’t very good. The health tourist receive in cuba is not the same as the locals. He mentioned that if you go to the hospital you need to bring your own medicine from home and your own sheets since many hospitals have neither. Also, If it starts to rain make sure to push your bed away from the window since many hospitals don’t have glass in the windows. He was very happy to be away from cuba.

    up to several years ago some canadians would come across the boarder to get quicker health care. That was when the canadian governement would reimburse the cost of the surgury. I don’t this is allowed anymore.

  3. I had 2 uncles who had to wait for services in Canada for cancer care….waiting for treatment in one case for 3 months and then 6 months in the other case. Now we visit them at the graveyards.
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