Getting back to the original question of what Canadians thought of their healthcare system is an interesting question and one that is not easily answered.
Signgirl is indeed correct in her analogy of what is currently transpiring in our hospitals and medical environs. It is a sad state of affairs.
I have been intimately involved with the healthcare system over the past 25 years, through the cancer illnesses of both parents and some ongoing current issues with my own health.
I can say without a doubt, that both my parents received incredible care at no expense to our family. Both parents suffered for many years and had several surgeries along with chemo, radical treatments and test programs. Home care (which was phenomenal) came along with the package. The nurses, the doctors, the teams were incredible. I cannot say enough about the care my parents received. I would never criticize their care or treatment only praise it. Their care was to be admired. And by the way, the support to me in my efforts to care for them was above and beyond. Truly a model of what healthcare could and should be.
What I can say now is that things have changed horribly in the past 13 years. I am lucky in that I have a very good Family Doctor but I can't even think of changing because it is very likely that I will not be able to find one. At this stage I travel 40 kms to my Family Doctor.
I had a recent condition approx. 4 years ago that needed addressing. Although not an emergency or life threatening it was certainly uncomfortable and needed attention. I waited 14 months for an appointment to consult with a Specialist. I then waited another 4 months for the testing procedures to be done. 4 months after that the surgery was done. All in all almost 2 years in the waiting. Had I gone to the US for treatment and paid...it could have been done within a month.
2 years ago I developed a DVT and the reaction was entirely different. Bing bang boom I was dealt with and in the system. Sometimes I wanted "out of the system" but they were right on top of me. Incredible care and no complaints.
Now here's another scenario where once again I am waiting. I have been waiting to see a Radiologist to have a procedure done. My name went on the list in March. The message at his office states that "you will not be called for a minimum of 8 months". I chose this route to avoid a very significant surgery. As it turns out, I could have had the surgery in April and it would be all done with by now. I am still waiting to hear from the radiologist. And by the way, this time, it is serious and could be a big deal if my condition changes. If the embolization had been done in March or April I wouldn't be looking at surgery now.
So...what do we say to all of this? We are all typical Canadians. We really don't complain too much and we just tend to go along. Our healthcare system is not what it used to be. If you have a serious health issue you will be taken care of and it won't break the bank and put you in the poor house. If you have a problem and can wait. You wait. Politicians decide who gets the money and how to distribute it. If you're really sick you will be seen and taken care of. You might have to wait in an emergency room but you will be seen. Some fall through the cracks and stuff happens. I'm sure that happens all over the world.
Our healthcare system is not perfect. It never has been and never will be. I have confidence that if something catastrophic were to happen to me I will be cared for. Is this good enough? Probably. Is it exceptional? No. We have learned to expect a lot less in the last 10 years.
Now if you really want to talk about Healthcare we can get into the whole H1N1 vaccination debacle that is taking place here right now but I don't think you want me to go there!!!
What's the wealthiest 2% tax rate (with & w/o tax cuts)? And how does that compare to the lower income tax rates?
Originally Posted by dnf777
I'm just responding to the quote that sacrifice should start at the top. Personally, I'm all for the tax cuts. I just can't figure out how tax cuts are a sacrafice??
Originally Posted by WaterDogRem
Well who said Bush's tax cutz were a sacrifice?
Originally Posted by dnf777
Thanks for the feedback. It's very informative to hear firsthand what's happening.
You mention that it's changed drastically in the past 13 years. Why do you think that is? Do you think it's economy related issues? Availability? The fact that Politicians are making health care decisions (through the checkbook, at least)? What do you think?
I read what you have to say about your parents care and am encouraged, but it doesn't sound like that would be the case today.
The rationing and the waiting, while personal health deteriorates, really concerns me about implementing something like this in the US. A valid comment was made earlier in this thread that you can't inject millions of people into the line to receive services and not expect the line to get longer. Making healthcare available to more people is good, I applaud the efforts. Providing it "at no cost" gives it a value of zero, and if it's free, people will treat it like it's free. (I have the sniffles; it cost's nothing, I'm going to emergency to get a prescription; it cost's a $20 co-pay, I'll have some chicken soup at home). A simplistic example, but magnified by millions of people and it's an issue.
Additionally, I feel that if our Government is saying the initial cost is X, then it's more likely to be X, plus a few percent more than they thought it would be (or their extimates make unrealistic assumtions), and over time it's only going up. And once that train starts rolling down the tracks and gaining momentum, there's no turning back or stopping it.
If they truly want to do something, why not catastrophic/major medical insurance instead of paying for folks to have their sniffles looked at. I resent the government saying that I will have to pay for Cadillac care for others (Many who make more than me with less education)at a time I am being furloughed 8 days per year and have had our only 2nd cost of living increase (a 2% to add to the prior 1%) in the past 10 year period rescinded. This while Wisconsin struggles in the red, while our politicians in Madison still draw daily housing and food allowances while in Madison as well as reimbursement for one trip to their home district per week. I do not get paid extra for food or housing when I show up for work...) Anyhow, back to the insurance issue:
I do not take health insurance through the UW System as my wife gets better insurance through her work. Do I get money back from my employer for the benefit I have given up? No. I am damn well sure that I won't be able to tell the government, please contact my university and you can take the additional money from the money saved on the benefit I do not take.
The president and congress also claim that a government plan will not stop private insurers from existing. But how will a company that is responsible to their shareholders (us... if you have stocks, mutual funds, and/or 401K-403Bs)be able to compete verses a program that has no such requirement and is funded directly by taxes? Also holds true for employers; who will keep plans that cost them money when they could just allow the government plan to pay for it, thus increasing their profit margin. If this happens, I bet my bottom dollar that the savings are not provided back to the employees' salaries in order to off set their increased taxes.
Personally my plan would be to allow people to buy into a "buying pool" insurance if not covered by an employer. This is how it works: In the State of Wisconsin there is an insurance run by the Wisconsin Education Association called WEA Trust. It is fantastic cadilac insurance and roughly 100,000 clients (mostly teachers) are part of it. In the Milwaukee area alone, United Health has almost 400,000 clients insured (from all walks of life). That is roughly 4x the state wide number of WEA Trust. When the Plans negotiate with facilities/providers to get their in plan savings United Health has tons more buying power. In other words, while WEA might be able to negotiate 10-20% savings in network, United is able to negotiate 30-40%.
In my work I have been privy to what some school districts have saved by switching from WEA Trust to an identical plan with more buying power. Increase in network savings were passed on (gasp not all insurance companies are evil) amounting to $1,000 - $2,000 savings for each teacher covered per year. Let anyone who wants to buy into each State's privately run worker insurance plan(s) do so. The more people on board, the more they save personally as will the state for worker benefit costs.
I worked/lived in North Dakota during graduate school and met a large number of people that personally crossed the border from Canada because they could not get procedures approved quick enough that would help their quality of life/ability to work fast enough. They told me that Medical issues would be left to linger long enough that other injuries/illnesses manifested due to the original issue. Thus they came to the US to expedite the process.
Another issue I do not see mentioned is Tort Reform. There is a reason that OB/GYNs and general practice doctors are on the decline, the cost of malpractice insurance. Guess what is not included in the health care legislation and to which party trial lawyers contributed the most money towards. There is a correlation. Working closely with our College of Nursing, I have seen figures that our current shortage of Nurses and Family Practitioners would be further exasperated by this national plan. Add to the current shortage the need for another 200,000 nurses/doctors. When we cannot find them now where will they come from? Who wants to enter as a physician when malpractice insurance rates are so out of control? Is that the insurance industry’s fault? No. It is the fault of the ridiculously high awards lawyers have asked for and judges and juries have provided. Once again the point of an insurance company is to not go bankrupt.
So I guess I am against the current bill in congress. I am against the effort that was trying to ram it through quickly without thoroughly understanding what impacts it will have, especially when there are other tacts that could be tried prior to spending all of this tax money when we are already up to our eyeballs with it now.
I am not huge into politics so I won't venture an opinion unless I really know.
The cost of healthcare just keeps rising and in order to fund this huge machine you need more and more money. Inflation, more people getting sick, aging population, etc. The strain on our healthcare system is building due to all of these factors. This has been going on for years - long before any current economic difficulties. So here you go...raise taxes or cut costs? You know what, raise taxes but then again they instituted a Health Tax and everybody went nuts!!! We hate the health tax.
My own belief is that the politicians are just trying to cost cut and grandstand without knowing what they are doing. They don't really understand health care and its a HUGE MACHINE. It needs lots of money to run effectively. They think that if you do things differently and not fund the healthcare system they way it needs to be funded then it will all be OK. Well, its not. So they stick their noses in where it doesn't belong. They shuffle funding back and forth and then a bunch of beaurocrats fritter it all away on something stupid.
We have had Doctor strikes! The Doctors are paid by the government. They send a bill to be paid to the Government. Sometimes they don't think that they get paid enough and they probably don't. So they went on strike. Work to rule. It was a nightmare.
The government tells doctors how long they can spend with a patient, how many patients you can treat in a week etc. Here's an example....Obstetricians can only deliver a certain # of babies per week. So if you are a pregnant woman and for the past 8 months you have been visiting your Obstetrician and building a rapport and faith in this doctor it could very well be that when it comes to deliver, a doctor you have never seen before or know his, or her,credentials is the doctor who is going to deliver your baby. You have no say and YOUR DOCTOR has no say. This is a direct result of the government trying to hold back fees so as not to pay a doctor overtime.
My experience has been that whenever you have the government involved in things like this it just does not run effectively and they never seem to have the "right" person at the helm.
Ron, that's what I think. I hate government involvement and as I said before, if you're really sick you will get taken care of. So should I complain too much or too loudly? Nope... The Healthcare system needs tons of money and the right people in place to spend it accordingly.
None of the budget projections submitted by Bush provided for extending the tax cuts and the budget projections submitted by Obama only provided for extending some of the cuts affecting persons earning less than $200k. To extend all the cuts would add hundreds of billions to the deficit, so I am sure that no fiscal conservative would want that to happen.;-)
Originally Posted by dnf777
I enjoyed reading your perspectives on healthcare. Every point you made, I think, is right on the money. One thing I would add, is the administrative costs that have become one of the largest slices of the medical GDP pie. Patients give money, whether it be taxes or premiums...and that money is used to deliver services, buy equipment, and staff clinics and hospitals. If a retail chain spent as much of their revenues on administrative and distribution costs as healthcare does, they would be out of business. As a rule of thumb, doctors salaries have accounted for 14-17% of the MDGP, rather consistently since the late 60s. Many current physicians have seen salaries cut, both in terms of real and adjusted dollars.
I'm not sure why CEOs, administrators who perform poorly and deliver a poor service in terms of efficiency are profiting off of illness. Or shareholders for that matter. I'm all for free market, but only if all can participate, and our current system prevents just about everyone except the upper echelons from negotiating or engaging in free market practices. What I mean by that is, most insured people in America have insurance provided through their employer. (there's a whole 'nother thread) They HAVE NO CHOICE to choose. (in practical terms...free or heavily subsidized versus 15k out of pocket??) The only dickering goes on is between the VP of HR at these companies and the sales agents of the insurance carriers. Small businesses are being told, thanks, but no thanks....you can't afford us.....and are dropping benefits for employees.
IMHO, healthcare is unique, and probably needs regulatory protection against typical business practices. I think even the most devout capitalists would not want to see people turned away from care due to inability to pay, but their inbred drive to protect and foster profits runs in direct contradiction to compassionate care. Doctors are historically the WORST businessmen, and as such have been run out of the administrative suites of hospitals all over the country. Someone who has taken an oath to treat the sick, and will do so without regard to pay, is basically a sheep at a wolf's den when it comes to business practices.
We'll see what happens. What is concerning, is whatever happens, appears to have been concieved under heavy influence of the insurance giants, with little input from doctors and patients.