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Gerry Clinchy
01-08-2012, 05:43 PM
Was at an eye clinic & spent a lot of time talking to a fellow who has residences in Canada and PA. His wife is Canadian, and he has a business here in the US.

About health care: I said that some people think Obamacare will make it possible for everyone to afford health care. He said, that they don't tell us about rationing. His MIL's significant other had prostate cancer at around 75. They did surgery, but made no mention of chemo. When told about chemo, he asked his doctor about it. Upon patient's insistence, he got the chemo ... though not before his doctor tried to discourage him reminding him he was 75 and had had a good life. Of course, some time had passed. Another year or two later, his cancer recurred. His treatment was then morphine until he died.

Just this month his wife needed a CAT scan. She can get it around Jan. 15 ... 2013! She went to a private hospital & is scheduled in 2 wks for a cost of around $750. She felt she didn't really want to wait a year to find out if she had cancer. He's says the govt is now encouraging the operation and use of "private" hospitals. Seems to be following on the lines of what's happening in the UK. And it's not "free" ... you pay for the health care protection. Not sure what happens for those who don't have the $, or how large that portion of the population is in Canada.

He went shopping for car insurance for his car. Costs him $1100/yr in US. First quote in Canada was $2200. Finally found it for $1500/year.

The dog food they use costs $59 in US. Same food, same size bag, costs $89 in Canada (and the exchange rate of US and Canada is close to equal now). They're in Ontario, and the sales tax is 13%. He says milk is $5.00/gallon.

Gas is $1 more per gallon there. Same for diesel.

If they buy anything in the US (they are 40 minutes from the border), they must pay the 13% sales tax. So far, they pay the tax on the US price, but there is movement afoot to make the sales tax payable on the Canadian price. Would still be a bargain since they would save on the actual price of the item.

I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) that Canada balances its budget ... but the taxes are still high.

He found a property just on the US side of the border, but his wife doesn't want to give up the Canada residence since her mom is around 77, and needs some assistance.

Canada is a great neighbor ... but the grass may not be greener there as we think ... but I did buy some Canada Green grass seed that is supposed to be indestructible. We'll see when I plant it in the spring.

1tulip
01-08-2012, 11:07 PM
Canada is doing one h*ll of a smart thing in actually using the resources God put there. They are pumping oil and recovering gas and selling it, creating money for their treasury and prosperity for their citizens.

I would like to do the same here. We are a nation that is lousy with oil and natural gas. Given the new technologies, we can pump enough to put our economy in over-drive for over a century.

We could make energy so inexpensive, we could drive the Saudi's, Iran, and Venezuela out of business.

Anyhow... the Canadians are sure doing some things right!

M. Robinson
01-09-2012, 02:31 PM
We do not have a balanced budget and Ontario (Liberal) especially is mired in debt....
The Federal debt is being managed and is about 40% of GDP. (Conservative)

Our banks are rock solid and there has been no fall in house prices at all.

Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C are the engines driving the economy. Guess what they have???? Oil, Natural Gas, Potash and timber.

Private healthcare or clinics are illegal according to the Canada Health Act. There are many ways around it but technically, it is not allowed.

My mom, who is 93 and very healthy, has a stubborn rash that has her family doctor stumped. We live in a city of nearly 200,000. There are 3 dermatologists in town. The first appointment available is December 2012. If a cancer issue, 2 months is more the norm.

Our taxes used to be horrific, but are more in line with the U.S. now. Our corporate taxes are less but red tape just as onerous.

road kill
01-09-2012, 02:45 PM
We do not have a balanced budget and Ontario (Liberal) especially is mired in debt....
The Federal debt is being managed and is about 40% of GDP. (Conservative)

Our banks are rock solid and there has been no fall in house prices at all.

Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C are the engines driving the economy. Guess what they have???? Oil, Natural Gas, Potash and timber.

Private healthcare or clinics are illegal according to the Canada Health Act. There are many ways around it but technically, it is not allowed.

My mom, who is 93 and very healthy, has a stubborn rash that has her family doctor stumped. We live in a city of nearly 200,000. There are 3 dermatologists in town. The first appointment available is December 2012. If a cancer issue, 2 months is more the norm.

Our taxes used to be horrific, but are more in line with the U.S. now. Our corporate taxes are less but red tape just as onerous.

In America the Debt is now at 100% of the GDP (progressive) and this administration is damned proud of it!!!:D



RK

Gerry Clinchy
01-09-2012, 03:34 PM
Great input from Medie.

Also, we might learn a lesson from Canada about having two legal languages. Not the best idea.

Canada is doing better than the US in exploiting its natural resources ... but how the resulting revenue is used is also important. If it results in using too much of the wealth created to invest in more "redistribution" of income it may not turn out so great in about 25 years.

Here in the US, I guess we're just going to sit on the natural resources until we spend all the $ available on wind turbines & then have none left to invest in digging the other stuff out of the ground.

charly_t
01-09-2012, 11:01 PM
.......................................
My mom, who is 93 and very healthy, has a stubborn rash that has her family doctor stumped. We live in a city of nearly 200,000. There are 3 dermatologists in town. The first appointment available is December 2012......................

Have you checked to see if a rash is a side effect of any of her meds if she takes meds. Just a thought. Been there, done that, so I speak from experience.

Mary Lynn Metras
01-13-2012, 09:36 PM
Great input from Medie.

Also, we might learn a lesson from Canada about having two legal languages. Not the best idea.

Canada is doing better than the US in exploiting its natural resources ... but how the resulting revenue is used is also important. If it results in using too much of the wealth created to invest in more "redistribution" of income it may not turn out so great in about 25 years.

Here in the US, I guess we're just going to sit on the natural resources until we spend all the $ available on wind turbines & then have none left to invest in digging the other stuff out of the ground.

I grocery shop at Meijer's in Port Huron. Don't have to worry about French labels. I hate having to turn the package around to find the English. And yes the dog food is cheaper?????but I am :) And you can get free antibiotics at Meijer's or the other pharmacies.:)

There are some things to be said about CDN health care. You can shop around and you don't pay up front :). and don't pay at all!!!

And yes we have resources!!!:) which I don't mind sharing with the US. That may give us all some piece of mind instead of relying on overseas-you know those friendly countries!

As Medie said our banks are great!!! And Bank of Canada regulates superbly.

Yes, on both sides of the borders, we have problems but on the whole we are free, can speak our minds, have vacations, cars, homes, family, believe in whatever we want to, etc. It is not too free in some parts of the world and don't try expressing your views as some do in America.

Oh Canada! eh!!!

1tulip
01-17-2012, 05:50 PM
Canadians are doing a LOT of things right! God bless them. Now if we can only convince them it's OK to use live fliers.

AGirlAndHerDog
01-18-2012, 01:21 AM
Being in the health care field, having "free" health care isn't always as it's cracked up to be. For example, wait times here are insane. I'll pretty much nail my location down by saying that the hospital I work for has been in the national news twice in the past 12 months; once for putting overflow patients in the closed Tim Hortons and again just a few weeks ago for putting overflow patients during the day in the main entrance area by the gift shop. Now, those patients all had nurses attending them and they weren't life-or-death cases, but usually people waiting for beds upstairs or for diagnostic tests, but you can imagine how p*ssed off some people were (and not always the patients themselves) at the very thought that there were people waiting in a Tim Hortons or in the main entrance by the gift shop.

If they're not overflowing patients, and you aren't a critical case, you could wait in the ER for up to 9 hours before being seen. Heck, when I had a DVT (that no one could find), I went to the ER every day for a week and waited no less than 4 hours. One time I was there for 8-1/2 hours (but admittedly, that day all the hospital computer systems crashed).

The Health Care Act has this to say in conclusion to private clinics: "the Act is limited to discouraging private payments by patients through user charges or extra-billing for health services covered by provincial health care insurance plans."

The reason we have such high wait times has a lot to do with population size, lack of family doctors, immigrants not knowing about the resources available to them in the community (such as walk-in clinics), and people rushing to the ER for everything from a stubbed toe to going on vacation and they need to put gramma in respite for 2 weeks. Non-emergent "emergencies" clog up our system and take up time not only because the doctor has to see the patient, but they then have to do the proper workups which can include blood work, x-rays, etc just to be cautious (if the patient is presenting as a strange case). Even if they don't present as a weird case, the doctor still has to see them, examine them, determine nothing is really wrong, and send them on their way. During which time another, more significantly ill, patient could have gotten to see the physician that much sooner.

There also aren't that many doctors graduating from medical school choosing to be general practitioners because when you factor in outstanding student loans, office overhead (lease, staff wages, office supplies), malpractise insurance, membership to medical associations, etc. the amount the government pays them doesn't make it worth it to stay in family practise, so they move into specialized care. We also have a shortage of physicians in rural communities because, let's face it, being in the sticks is a bit boring. There is also the issue with having inadequate access to proper supplies in remote areas and physicians get frustrated with the lack of supplies or assistance and subsequently give up and move to more populated areas. It's to the point now that towns are offering incentives for doctors to move there, including free housing, free groceries, etc.

Our banking system, though, is superb and is regulated much more strictly than the US system. For example, our mortgage laws are such that if you cannot afford a $500,000 house you do not get a $500,000 house. You're only allowed to buy a house that you can afford the mortgage payments on. This definitely helps against people ending up with homes they can't afford, defaulting on their mortgages, etc.

Gas prices are ridiculous. Today, the gas where I live is $1.31/L, that's roughly $5.20/gallon (I think; my math is awful). Minimum wage is higher than in the US, but cost of living is higher here too. Cars typically cost several thousand more than in the States, and groceries are more expensive. On a nutrition/weight loss forum I'm on, I have to laugh because so many people mention about how you can buy frozen vegetables for $1/box (the steamer kind). They're $2.97/box here at Wal-mart. Fast food is much cheaper in the US than in Canada; a trip to McPukes here can cost $10 for one meal. Same with junk food. Whenever I go to the US, I stock up on a few things: Frozen dinners and some junk food (a habit I'm trying to break) because it's so much cheaper and the selection is HUGE compared to up here. Americans have more packaged food than Canada does; seriously. You guys have stuff, even just across the border in Bellingham, that I've never heard of.

I do like that I don't have to pay for my medical care, though. At least for now. I'm losing my extended health care when I quit so I won't have prescriptions paid for now. But a trip to the ER will still be covered.

Two years ago, I spent a week back and forth in the ER trying to figure out what my leg pain was from. When the clot finally passed through my heart and got plugged up in my lungs, I underwent many blood tests, a CT scan, ultrasound studies, echocardiogram, meals for 3 days, etc and I never paid a penny. That wasn't stuff covered by the extended either - just provincial health care. Even the week-long injections before I bridged to an oral blood thinner was covered by the provincial plan.

I think in general, the US and Canada have a LOT going for them, regardless of what side of the border you're on. There are a lot of pros and cons to both sides, but in general, I'd rather live here (North America) than ANYWHERE else in the world with the exception of possibly Switzerland or Sweden.

I'd still be proudly Canadian, though. ;)

caryalsobrook
01-18-2012, 08:00 AM
Being in the health care field, having "free" health care isn't always as it's cracked up to be. For example, wait times here are insane. I'll pretty much nail my location down by saying that the hospital I work for has been in the national news twice in the past 12 months; once for putting overflow patients in the closed Tim Hortons and again just a few weeks ago for putting overflow patients during the day in the main entrance area by the gift shop. Now, those patients all had nurses attending them and they weren't life-or-death cases, but usually people waiting for beds upstairs or for diagnostic tests, but you can imagine how p*ssed off some people were (and not always the patients themselves) at the very thought that there were people waiting in a Tim Hortons or in the main entrance by the gift shop.

If they're not overflowing patients, and you aren't a critical case, you could wait in the ER for up to 9 hours before being seen. Heck, when I had a DVT (that no one could find), I went to the ER every day for a week and waited no less than 4 hours. One time I was there for 8-1/2 hours (but admittedly, that day all the hospital computer systems crashed).

The Health Care Act has this to say in conclusion to private clinics: "the Act is limited to discouraging private payments by patients through user charges or extra-billing for health services covered by provincial health care insurance plans."

The reason we have such high wait times has a lot to do with population size, lack of family doctors, immigrants not knowing about the resources available to them in the community (such as walk-in clinics), and people rushing to the ER for everything from a stubbed toe to going on vacation and they need to put gramma in respite for 2 weeks. Non-emergent "emergencies" clog up our system and take up time not only because the doctor has to see the patient, but they then have to do the proper workups which can include blood work, x-rays, etc just to be cautious (if the patient is presenting as a strange case). Even if they don't present as a weird case, the doctor still has to see them, examine them, determine nothing is really wrong, and send them on their way. During which time another, more significantly ill, patient could have gotten to see the physician that much sooner.

There also aren't that many doctors graduating from medical school choosing to be general practitioners because when you factor in outstanding student loans, office overhead (lease, staff wages, office supplies), malpractise insurance, membership to medical associations, etc. the amount the government pays them doesn't make it worth it to stay in family practise, so they move into specialized care. We also have a shortage of physicians in rural communities because, let's face it, being in the sticks is a bit boring. There is also the issue with having inadequate access to proper supplies in remote areas and physicians get frustrated with the lack of supplies or assistance and subsequently give up and move to more populated areas. It's to the point now that towns are offering incentives for doctors to move there, including free housing, free groceries, etc.

Our banking system, though, is superb and is regulated much more strictly than the US system. For example, our mortgage laws are such that if you cannot afford a $500,000 house you do not get a $500,000 house. You're only allowed to buy a house that you can afford the mortgage payments on. This definitely helps against people ending up with homes they can't afford, defaulting on their mortgages, etc.

Gas prices are ridiculous. Today, the gas where I live is $1.31/L, that's roughly $5.20/gallon (I think; my math is awful). Minimum wage is higher than in the US, but cost of living is higher here too. Cars typically cost several thousand more than in the States, and groceries are more expensive. On a nutrition/weight loss forum I'm on, I have to laugh because so many people mention about how you can buy frozen vegetables for $1/box (the steamer kind). They're $2.97/box here at Wal-mart. Fast food is much cheaper in the US than in Canada; a trip to McPukes here can cost $10 for one meal. Same with junk food. Whenever I go to the US, I stock up on a few things: Frozen dinners and some junk food (a habit I'm trying to break) because it's so much cheaper and the selection is HUGE compared to up here. Americans have more packaged food than Canada does; seriously. You guys have stuff, even just across the border in Bellingham, that I've never heard of.

I do like that I don't have to pay for my medical care, though. At least for now. I'm losing my extended health care when I quit so I won't have prescriptions paid for now. But a trip to the ER will still be covered.

Two years ago, I spent a week back and forth in the ER trying to figure out what my leg pain was from. When the clot finally passed through my heart and got plugged up in my lungs, I underwent many blood tests, a CT scan, ultrasound studies, echocardiogram, meals for 3 days, etc and I never paid a penny. That wasn't stuff covered by the extended either - just provincial health care. Even the week-long injections before I bridged to an oral blood thinner was covered by the provincial plan.

I think in general, the US and Canada have a LOT going for them, regardless of what side of the border you're on. There are a lot of pros and cons to both sides, but in general, I'd rather live here (North America) than ANYWHERE else in the world with the exception of possibly Switzerland or Sweden.

I'd still be proudly Canadian, though. ;)
Thanks for your description of your life in Canada. It had to take you time to gather your thoughts and write such an informative post.

I do have a question concerning the extended coverage. Has it always been part of the national healthcare system or was it added later? I appeared that you have the extended coverage. If so, have you ever used it and what was your experience with it?

Again, nice post.

Gerry Clinchy
01-18-2012, 11:06 AM
Great insights into Canada's health care & prices of goods there.

It would seem that certain other countries have some good ideas that work for them, and it would seem that, if we would just look around we could have "the best of both worlds", so to speak.

1) The health care issues that are described seem to be the case in all the countries that have "socialized" medicine. The UK is now actually encouraging doctors and patients to deal with each other outside of the govt system. We ought to pay attention to the evolution that has occurred there.

Those that have more $ can still get better care than those that don't because the govt system cannot provide the best care to EVERYone. Same here! Since the population of the US is larger than either Canada or the UK, the evolution of such a govt system in the US would probably take less than the 40 years that it took to evolve in the UK.

As long as there is a country they can go to for when the overloaded system can't handle the issues, it works out okay. Things begin to get tough when you get very sick or old. Can you just see No Americans going to offshore, state-of-the art hospitals and doctors that set themselves up "off-shore"?

However, we have the same problem with ER back-ups in many areas in the US; both systems produce the same results in that regard!

2) Cost of goods: I'm guessing that if there is 13% sales tax in Ontario (as mentioned to me a couple of weeks ago), at least some of that is paying for some of the "free" services. I believe that they also have personal income tax. How does that work?

3) Obviously! Canada has a better banking system! Even during the Great Depression, Canada banks did not "crash" the way they did in the US.

Seems, too, that Chile has found a better way to handle retirement funding. Newt has mentioned its success at least 2X in the debates now. The funding question for the transition was also answered ... take it from stuff that is wasteful & should be eliminated anyhow. Recall reading not long ago that Finland was having serious problems with its generous retirement plan; France as well. We should be attentive to what works long-term, and what does not. No sense in re-inventing the wheel!

AGirlAndHerDog
01-18-2012, 05:26 PM
In regards to extended health care, you get this through your employer and it is separate from the provincial health care provided, so it's not always there. I'm not entirely sure when separate companies began offering extended coverage.

Because I am (for now) employed by a health authority (and thus, the government), I get an extended plan which pays 80% of my prescription costs with the exception of some medications such as oral contraceptive, and 80% dental coverage with the exception of conscious sedation, any other fillings except metal (I have porcelain fillings and they cost me about $200; and I need more), etc. Some extended plans are better, some are worse. The one my dad, who works at a copper mine, has is actually pretty decent. They get the same things I get, but their dental plan also includes implants. My mom had dental implants put in to the tune of $16,000 and all but I think $2500 was paid for by the company.

When I quit work in March, I will only be covered by what my provincial government will pay for (and the list is numerous but basic medical costs; doctor visits, emergency visits, surgery with the exception of cosmetic surgery unless medically necessary, etc.). I won't have the extended plan anymore (unless I pay for one myself, which I likely will do) to cover the cost of medications or dental visits.

My experience with the extended plan is such that without it, I'm probably going to go into shock. I've never NOT had an extended plan. Growing up dad had extended coverage for all of us through his job; everything is paid for as above. I was covered so long as I was at home and going to school, and when I moved out, I only did so because I got hired on with the hospital here and thus my own extended coverage was started through them.

The plans are (from my experience) set up so you don't have to pay first and then get reimbursed on anything except prescriptions. You have a certain deductible and then the rest is covered. I used to be employed by another health authority until September of this year. We were then merged with another one (though working at the same site) and the only thing that really changed was our extended coverage. Before, our deductible was $50, now it's $100 and the plan we're on doesn't cover brand name prescriptions. Unfortunately, not every medication has a generic type. Example: Flovent, for asthma sufferers has no generic version. It's just Flovent. But the extended plan won't cover it, so you have to pay the $50 for the puffer. Now when I go to my physician, I make sure to ask for the generic of any medication they wish to give me, OR I ask for samples if it's something that I won't have to take long-term. My physician has given me at least 4 puffers for my breathing problems (due to the clots and pneumonia in 2010) without me having to pay for them. Just have to know how to work the system, I think ;)

--------------------------------------------------------

Ontario has the HST, like BC (and other provinces do) and their sales tax (which is provincial tax combined with the federal tax is 13%. Ours in BC is 12% and we've currently won a battle to have it revoked by 2013. It's not so much that the tax is bad for us (although it is), it's that it was shoved on us in a very short period of time. A lot of things have suffered because of the increased tax; and it's a bit confusing to me to explain but basically, costs went up. Businesses suffered; long-running restaurants in Vancouver shut down because they weren't getting the same amount of business as before the tax. Coupled with new, tougher, drunk-driving laws (which put our "legal" limit to 0.05 as opposed to 0.07 everywhere else in Canada and gives the RCMP the ability to impound your car for 30 days right at the side of the road and fine you and charge you), restaurants have suffered a lot.

The HST doesn't pay for anything more than what the PST and GST did; all that happened was the government merged the 2 taxes into 1 tax and hiked it up a bit. Depending where you live, taxes pay for different things. In the lower mainland here, we have higher gas prices than almost anywhere else in the province because we have added tax on for Translink, which operates the buses, skytrain, seabus, bridges, etc. Where my parents live, gas is usually 10-15 cents/liter cheaper because they don't have that tax. We also pay a carbon tax on gas (but I think that's province-wide).

I'm not entirely sure how personal income tax works, but I'll explain it as best I can:

Right now, when I pay my provincial tax, this is how it looks:

(This is provincial income tax)
From 0$-$37,013 you pay 5% income tax.
From $37,013 to $74,028, you pay 7.70%
(and it goes up from there)

If you make $42,000 a year, the first $37,013 is at 5%, and the left over is taxed at $7.70%; so you'd be taxed 7.70% on $4987.

There's also federal income tax, too.

I think I got that right, lol. My math skills are awful.

And yes, don't forget that the entire population of Canada could fit in California with room to spare, most likely. We only have a population of around 30 million. Tiny in compared to the US's 300 million.

It's not all rosy here in Canada; Vancouver itself has a MASSIVE homeless problem and I live literally 2 streets behind my city's homeless/drug problem. I'm on my way to work, but I can post (if you'd like) about how the health care system fails those people every single day. It's not pretty.

BonMallari
01-18-2012, 05:35 PM
And yes, don't forget that the entire population of Canada could fit in California with room to spare, most likely. We only have a population of around 30 million. Tiny in compared to the US's 300 million.

Highly doubt it..the line to get across the border is two deep with illegals, and thats just on IH 5 :rolleyes: if you want to see a stampede go to County USC medical center in the emergency room and yell out "...I N S..." and then get outta the way

AGirlAndHerDog
01-18-2012, 07:36 PM
Highly doubt it..the line to get across the border is two deep with illegals, and thats just on IH 5 :rolleyes: if you want to see a stampede go to County USC medical center in the emergency room and yell out "...I N S..." and then get outta the way

Oh that is just :twisted: Hilarious though!:lol: