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Canada's socialized health care system is perhaps imperfect in certain aspects, but when Canadians are polled on the subject, in excess of 95% of the respondents consistently state that they prefer their system than to that of the USA. Canadians have a much more Christian view of their fellow citizens whom they truly believe are their 'brothers and sisters' - including people of color and other minorities.

Also, study after study has proven that Canadians with their socialized medical system have better health outcomes than do citizens of the USA. On average they live longer and in better health.

Pharmaceutical companies are not complaining about Canadas socialized health care system either. Pfizer, the worlds largest pharmaceutical company reported that it's Canadian per capital earnings were almost TWICE those of the USA. Hence, why many State Governments are quickly adopting the Canadian socialized pharmaceutical system (ie; access to drugs for all their employees at reduced prices) and the pharmaceutical companies are just as quickly supporting their efforts.

Contrary to what a poster has stated, the Canadian health care system would not deny a 100 year old woman a pacemaker because she is "too old". That is simply right wing conservative propaganda. The Canadian system may however, determine that her odds of surviving the surgery are so low that the risk does not merit the potential reward. Probably dying on the operating table or living it out for 1, 2, 3 more years in deteriorating health would be the choices the patient would be given. The reality is that from an economic perspective, it woud probably be far cheaper to have the patient die on the operating table in the near future, rather than have them live in very expensive government paid assisted care for a few more years. In fact, if you apply the right wing propaganda of a certain poster, one would conclude that the Canadian health care system would encourage elderly people to elect high risk surgery with the hope that they die on the operating table (ie: quick end to financial liability), rather than live out a few more years in costly extended care facilities. I can just imagine what Canadians would say if their 100 year old Canadian parents were being told by the Canadian social health care system that they HAD TO GO for pacemaker surgery.

Also, social health care would remove a huge competitive disadvantage that US companies have when competing with foreign ones which do not have to pay their employees health care costs. By the way, the US is increasingly lagging in global competitiveness.

The US health care model is no longer functional for a large portion of it's citizens. The US is in dire need of a 'Two Tiered' social health care program. IMHO, it would be better to have Mitt Romeney run it than Al Sharpton.

I.F.

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Canada's health care system is a mess. It shows all the evils of socialism and how it hurts people. In a Supreme Court ruling in 2005 on access to health care the Chief Justice wrote famously that: "Access to a waiting list is not access to health care." There are a large number of scientific studies on Canadian health care system that show its problems. Unfortunately those who support socialism don't care about actual health care. If you're over 70 in Canada you usually don't get that hip replacement (the system says you won't live long enough to justify the cost). There is a reason rich Canadians head to the United States and other countries for major health care.

The problem, of course, is rationing and financial problems. It causes countries not to purchase technology, and that leads to the long wait lists. The United States, for example, has about 35 MRI systems per million people. Canada has 5. The result is wait lists, and as people wait for technology that will diagnose their illness they get worse or die.

The 2005 Supreme Court case was about the prohibition on private health care. The court said quite clearly that unless the government could clean up the health care mess in Canada they would have to permit private health care.

A good article: Unsocialized Medicine: A landmark ruling exposes Canada's health-care inequity - and the author rightly notes that this comes from a Supreme Court that is way far left. One could start putting up tons of examples from across the small population of Canada. The woman flown all around the western provinces while in labor because there were no birthing beds at any hospital (who eventually was flown to Montana to have her child). Or the woman who needed a tumor removed in order to live and had it done at the Mayo Clinic because she would not have lived through the wait time to see a doctor in Canada to get on a wait list for the surgery.

This could be a good discussion. If there are more posts I'll break it off as it is not on topic.

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Originally Posted by Administrator
If you're over 70 in Canada you usually don't get that hip replacement (the system says you won't live long enough to justify the cost).


There is absolutely no truth to this statement made by the administrator. An 83 year old man whom I have known very well all my life and who lives in Canada has had two hips and two knees replaced since he turned 70 years of age. He had abosolutely no problem waiting for 3, 4, and even 5 months to have the surgery. As far as he was concerned, this was a fair price to pay for free surgery and several free months of rehabilitation care at a first rate facility. Also, after returning home he had the option of having all the physiotherapy he wanted. He considered himself very lucky because an old friend of his who lived in Syracuse, New York and who had the exact same surgery told him how she had no rehabiliation and had to return home within a week of having the surgery. Yup, the great private American health care system dumped the old lady into the hands of her even older husband three days after the surgery. No rehabilation outside care. The old man really couldn't take care of her at home at all so his daughter basically had to take two weeks of work to care for him. She had to take many more days off work to help out - BUT - on the positive side, the old lady didn't have to wait for the surgery - phew - what a relief !

It should be noted that there are no waiting periods for emergency care. For example, if you think that you are having a heart attack, they take care of you before anyone else. The people waiting for hip surgery can wait.

The MRI industry has been the main driver behind this type of technology and private insurers in the USA have come to realize that the cost benefit is not great hense why private insurers are signficantly reducing the number of MRIs. 35 MRI per million people is far too many. Quite simply, MRI's are being overused and there is no need for so many. More accurately, they are being overused for an elite number of Americans, and for many other US citizens, there is simply no access to this type of technology unless they are in an emergency ward of a hosptial. The private insurers in the USA are quickly moving to the Canadian model of socialized health care which requires physicians to use MRI technology in a cost effective manner. As for the poorer Americans without insurance, again, they will not have any access to this type of state-of-the-art technology unless they are 'visiting' an emergency ward. Canada has a cost efficient model for all of their citizens.

If you read my last post, you will notice that I have advocated a two tiered health care system. That means, that the current fully socialized system would remain in place, and for people who absolutely do not want to wait for surgery, they should have the option of paying for and getting it immediately. By permitting a two tiered health care system the supreme court of Canada has simply normalized a de facto situation.

The Canadian government uses at times Northern US states for the treat ment of Canaidans when such facilities are not immediately available for the Canadians who need them. Perhaps as you state a woman was flow from Southern Canada to Montana for medical treatment, but the Canadian government still paid for the treatment and she didn't have to prove she had insurance. The Canadian government treats nearby US health care facilities as just another resource of the social health care system. There are many states that do the same. If you are in an accident in upstate Vermont and need neurological care, they fly you to Montreal not Boston or New York. Unlike Canada, in the US in many cases if you do not have health care insurance, the American government lets you die at home and will not send you to Canada for free treatment - no matter how cheap it is. Also, you may be surprised to know that many US citizesn travel to Canada for medical treatment which they consider to be on par with the US but much cheaper. Rather than going broke trying to pay for it in the US, they travel to Canada for equal but far cheaper treatment.

I.F.

Last edited by Jean Francois; 07/10/09 04:24 AM.
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Originally Posted by Jean Francois
Originally Posted by Administrator
If you're over 70 in Canada you usually don't get that hip replacement (the system says you won't live long enough to justify the cost).
There is absolutely no truth to this statement made by the administrator. An 83 year old man whom I have known very well all my life and who lives in Canada has had two hips and two knees replaced since he turned 70 years of age. He had abosolutely no problem waiting for 3, 4, and even 5 months to have the surgery.

J.F. is incorrect. While I'm thrilled his friend was treated in a timely manner and did not mind the wait list the country is not thrilled - hence the case before their Supreme Court. Of course J.F. might suggest that that isn't true, either, but anyone can go look up the evidence if they wish. Health care is rationed in Canada and wait lists are long. That does not mean it is nonexistent or after the long wait that its quality is unacceptable. It is problematic (I've heard the horrors first hand from a doctor in the practice I go to who moved here to get away from it, and I have cousins and friends who live in Canada). Our current system (despite its flaws) is far better then the Canadian system.

But go back and read President Obama's words from the infomercial. He said clearly that under his plan the 100 year old woman would not have gotten the pacemaker. His recommendation was that they focus treatment on controlling pain rather then expensive surgery.

Health care in America is more expensive, partly because we have better technology and use it, partly because we have better drugs (whole classes of drugs we use routinely here are simply not available in Canada or Europe because they are too expensive and the government won't pay for them), and partly because the government interferes with competition (issues with Medicare/Medicaid) (but there are a host of reasons including legal ones that require tort reform to resolve). Socialism does not work and always leads to rationing. The President is admitting that (quietly) up front. There are other and better ways to provide health coverage to those who need it but can't afford it.

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A one payer system would constrict many freedoms the producers in our country have. I'm also concerned about healthcare rationing (a realistic concern, considering that it has been mentioned in official debate) and a quota system where the government limits the amount of specialists.

Doctors are called greedy because they make so much money. But after school loans and liability insurance, not even specialists find it easy to live large if they also have a family to support. Some of the highest waged specialties also have the highest burden of liability insurance (like anesthesiology).

"35 MRI per million people is far too many. Quite simply, MRI's are being overused and there is no need for so many. More accurately, they are being overused for an elite number of Americans, and for many other US citizens, there is simply no access to this type of technology unless they are in an emergency ward of a hospital."

Perhaps there was need for those MRI. When you begin to look at what is "too many", isn't that a demand for healthcare rationing?

The MRI would not be utilized to the degree they are if tort reform reduced the liability a doctor would carry in a lawsuit against his person or his practice. Who are these "elite"? People with insurance?

Terry

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Here is a link to the proposed Affordable Health Choices Act

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The MRI industry like the whole medical industry is profit driven. I'm certainly not against that, because that's what drives innovation and in many cases (but certainly not all) improved health care outcomes. But private industry can also abuse a health care system. If an MRI is being used when much cheaper and equally effective alternative diagnostics are available, then it can be said with certainty that there are too many MIRs. USA medical insurers are quickly coming to realize this, and are now advocating when possible that less costly technologies be used when possible. It's simply an efficient use of available resources. It brings the total health care cost down, but does not reduce the outcomes. The Canadian health care system does not "ration" but rather makes effective use of all available resources for the best potential health outcomes of ALL of it's citizens.

Controlling pain for my 100 year mother (may God please let her live that long) would be my choice for her, rather than sending her to the gallows.... errr... I mean operating table where she has little chance of survival. I think the president understands that medicine is rapidly changing and we need to rethink how we treat people. Spending huge amounts of money on risky or minimal chance of success health outcomes may not be logical.

Canadian doctors have almost no debt when graduating from medical school because their education is paid by the social educational system. Also, Canadian doctors do not carry liability insurance because they can't be sued the way the are in the USA. If a doctor makes a mistake, he/she is disciplined. In an egregious case they may lose their license.

American doctors are greedy. They keep equally qualified foreign trained doctors out of the US market by creating 'cartels', monopolies, or whatever else you want to call these corrupt associations otherwise known as the American Medical Association. If foreign doctors were able to compete (COMPETE = FREE ENTERPRISE REPUBLICANISM) in the USA, medical costs would drop significantly and US citizens would have better care. Canadian doctors who want to practice in the USA are dissuaded from doing so. Huge barriers are put and most are only able to practice in very remote areas of the USA. American citizens who are educated and trained in the same Canadian medical schools are able to freely practice in the USA after passing qualified board exams. The medical profession is to a large degree a racket. Medical doctors are not PhD graduates. Medical professional have a bachelor degree in Medicine and the title Doctor is simply an honorific from a bygone era. In other words, physicians earn 'glorified bachelor of science degrees' with some on site training. It's time that the whole medical profession begins competing like everyone else. The Canadian government now permits large numbers of foreign doctors from practicing medicine in Canada after they pass board exams and have some intern experience within Canadian hospitals. The quality of these physicians is on par with Canadian trained doctors. On a final note, if you were to cut physicians incomes by 25% tomorrow, I guarantee that there would be an equal number of qualified medical school applicants for next September.

The USA does NOT have better drugs than Canada. There are SOME drugs which are available in the USA which are not available in Canada and vice versa. The criteria for having non experimental drugs available in either country are similar, except that the Canadian health care system will fund all of its citizens whereas the USA will pay for elite rich white folks and leave everyone else to die. It's also worth noting that there are experimental therapies and drugs which are not available in either the USA or Canada, hence why citizens of both countries often fly to Europe or Mexico for treatment / therapy.

Canada has de facto been offering a two tiered health care system to its citizens for some time. The reasons the Supreme Court of Canada permitted private health care are (1) some Canadians did not want to wait at all for their treatment/care, and (2) many US citizens have been travelling to Canada for medical care for some time. The Supreme Court of Canada's ruling that private health care can be permitted was simply an acknowledgement of a situation that already existed in that country. It was not groundbreaking law. On a final note, Canadians constantly whine about the flaws in their social health care BUT that's not because they want a USA great capitalist system for some elites, but rather because they want the government to improve what they have. Again, when asked, 95% of Canadians state that they would prefer to keep their social health care system for ALL Canadian citizens, than move to an elitist USA private system.

Both the Canadian social and the USA quasi private medical systems have been morphing for many years and rapidly are converging to similar system(s). I do however believe that the USA system will move close to the Canadian system than vice versa.

I.F.

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Originally Posted by Jean Francois
Controlling pain for my 100 year mother (may God please let her live that long) would be my choice for her, rather than sending her to the gallows.... errr... I mean operating table where she has little chance of survival. I think the president understands that medicine is rapidly changing and we need to rethink how we treat people. Spending huge amounts of money on risky or minimal chance of success health outcomes may not be logical.

The woman had the pacemaker inserted at age 100 and is now age 105. But that is the whole problem. The government should not be the party making such decisions and President Obama make clear that Medicare would no longer be able to allow such treatment. When there is a single payer system then the one paying rations the care. Not logical. And very cruel those who need care.

We need to fight socialized medicine and the rationing that goes with it. Our system is already better then Canada's.

I recommend that J.F. pay attention to the facts. Also, he seems very willing to curtail care and let people die needlessly.

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"American doctors are greedy. They keep equally qualified foreign trained doctors out of the US market by creating 'cartels', monopolies, or whatever else you want to call these corrupt associations otherwise known as the American Medical Association."

Your generalized statement about "doctors" is rather telling. I can't agree with you. What is so bad in pursuing what is in your self-interest? Many doctors are altruistic, many are apathetic too. It is impossible to generalize them with any fairness.

I am not in league with the AMA, but I would rather trust them than a government bureaucrat to quota specialists in medical school. Obama was saying that we have too many specialists and not enough general practitioners. Who is he to determine the ratio of the two?

I'm not sure what you're talking about with foreign doctors not being able to compete. Not just the doctors, but all nurses and techs can compete when licensed to do so. There is no license restriction on other staff. If you are saying that the market is unfair because it's managed by the AMA which doles out licenses, how would it be more fair if the government were to define pay brackets?

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I find it interesting that Americans critize health care systems of Canada, France, Cuba and Great Britain, etc.... I find it interesting, because anyone I have ever spoken with from those countries (and polling that I have seen done in those countries confirms what I have heard first hand) Far and away these people would take their "socialized medicine" any day over the american system.

In regards to:
bureaucrats rationing healthcare...we already have that, but it's done by those who are profiting from denying care...

I have yet to meet a senior citizen who does not want medicare and complains of the bureaucrats...


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Originally Posted by Terry Bohannon
I am not in league with the AMA, but I would rather trust them than a government bureaucrat to quota specialists in medical school. Obama was saying that we have too many specialists and not enough general practitioners. Who is he to determine the ratio of the two?

Need determined by market forces should determine the number of doctors. Anyone who dismisses doctors as a bunch of greedy people who care more about money then they do about their patients does not have even an elementary understanding about the health care system and the issues that need to be addressed. Right now, many doctors choose specialties because they cannot make enough money as general practitioners. Private insurance reimbursement rates are affected by Medicare / Medicaid reimbursement rates and they are being cut all the time (when the government does not dismiss the charge altogether).

Part of what is needed in health care reform is to untie health care from employment (very difficult!). Return to a method where individuals choose their own health care much like they now choose auto insurance. Use tax credits and grants to subsidize those who cannot afford it. Keep the government out of the health care delivery side. Let market forces work. Health care costs will stabilize and moderate over time. Remember that there are only about 12-15 million who are chronically without health care. The 40 million number often cited includes those between jobs (even for a day), the young who opt out, and illegal aliens. Plus, about 7-10 million do already qualify for some government program (Medicaid, etc.) but have chosen not to register for it. The problem with health care is not the care itself - America has the best. But some people can't pay for it.

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Originally Posted by Job
I find it interesting that Americans critize health care systems of Canada, France, Cuba and Great Britain, etc.... I find it interesting, because anyone I have ever spoken with from those countries (and polling that I have seen done in those countries confirms what I have heard first hand) Far and away these people would take their "socialized medicine" any day over the american system.

You don't know too many people, do you? biggrin

I have relatives in Canada who do nothing but trash their health care system. And a friend who was resident in England for two decades who always came home for major health care because of the poor quality of health care there. Part of the problem is that the people in those countries are conditioned to think it is normal. One does not complain about what one things is normal.

Originally Posted by Job
In regards to:
bureaucrats rationing healthcare...we already have that, but it's done by those who are profiting from denying care...

Partly true. When there is competition and you can choose from many different insurance companies you can leave a health care company if it does not cover a service you routinely need and find one that does cover it. I've done that myself as each year my employer provides a half dozen health care companies to choose from. When the government is the only source there is no one else to choose from, so no incentive for the government to provide it.

Originally Posted by Job
I have yet to meet a senior citizen who does not want medicare and complains of the bureaucrats...

Everyone wants something for nothing. No surprise there. No one is suggesting taking away health care from the elderly who now have Medicare. Moving from having the government manage it to allowing seniors to choose providers would bring in competition. The prescription coverage is a good example. Right now it is running under the costs expected because of the competition.

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Your whole argument is circumstancial. I can just as easily point to foreigners who favor the American system. Case in point, Pope Shenouda III. Why does he come to Cleveland Ohio for major treatment. He could just as easily use his connections to choose a British or a Canadian hospital, but he chooses an American hospital.

Getting back to the principles, I value freedom and would much prefer taking middlemen out of the whole doctor/patient relationship. If we are talking ideals, that would be my ideal. That health insurance is for urgent care and not for preventive care or medicine.

If you reduce it down to a business relationship, a service provided to voluntary service received (that the individual is free to go elsewhere), and enact tort reforms that discourage excessive lawsuits, that then I think a lot of the costs will be taken out of the medical system.

The plan from government is not precisely "socialized medicine", but by assuring insurance and taxing private plans, the private insurance business will contract to the degree that there will, in effect, be a single payer at the end.

Terry

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Originally Posted by Terry Bohannon
Getting back to the principles, I value freedom and would much prefer taking middlemen out of the whole doctor/patient relationship. If we are talking ideals, that would be my ideal. That health insurance is for urgent care and not for preventive care or medicine.

Exactly. The model should be closer to auto insurance. The individual pays for routine care (regular doctor visits, little stuff). But when something happens and it is more expensive (you need an x-ray, or an MRL, etc.) you pay the deductible and the insurance covers the rest. When an individual does not see the cost or pay it he tends not to worry about it, and some get what they can for "free". Surprisingly, last summer when I hurt my foot I went to one of those walk in clinics (since my own doctor was unavailable). I had a doctor examine the foot, had an x-ray (nothing broken!) and had it wrapped for $150. No, not cheap but for immediate walk-in service not expensive, either.

Originally Posted by Terry Bohannon
If you reduce it down to a business relationship, a service provided to voluntary service received (that the individual is free to go elsewhere), and enact tort reforms that discourage excessive lawsuits, that then I think a lot of the costs will be taken out of the medical system.

Yes. Quite well said.

Originally Posted by Terry Bohannon
The plan from government is not precisely "socialized medicine", but by assuring insurance and taxing private plans, the private insurance business will contract to the degree that there will, in effect, be a single payer at the end.

This is one of the confusing parts of the proposed reform. President Obama is on record as saying he has to allow the private insurance companies to continue for now to subsidize the "public option" but that his goal in the future is to do away with them and have only the government option (one single-payer system).

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From the business end, it would not make much sense to compensate employees for "health benefits" if it costs them and the employee more up front to do so than the public option. Right now insurance is tax exempt, but they are talking about getting rid of that exemption to "help pay for the public option".

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