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!!!