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I am friends with a lot of Americans, and living where we do I see a lot of differences between what you do when you need medical care on either side of the border.
We are in a very unique situation because if we need to go to the Dr. or to the Hospital, we have the option of going to the US and having it still be covered by MB Health. I went in for a persistant rash on my finger once and received a receipt showing that the $200 appointment fee had been covered for me. It was less than a 5 minute total appointment! I couldn't believe it! The dr. walked in, wrote a script and walked out. THATS IT!
It got me thinking about the cost of health care here... we don't really see it in terms of $$$ per appointment, or per test, but do you think if we did you would be more selective or would you still want the same care?
It makes me wonder for example if my child falls and hits their head (hard) would I take them to the hospital to 'just be safe' or wait it out at home. What if I knew there would be a $5000+ bill at the end of the day, is that worth risking a more serious head injury?
There are obviously a lot of people who abuse the system here, but I for one would accept that over having to decide as a non Dr. if my child was sick enough to take in!
I think a lot of Canadians take advantage of the system and go for every cut. That being said when I go I want to see a doctor that will help me !! None of this falling through the cracks and wait times of 6m-1year.
We pay for our health care in our taxes, so I have often wondered if paying for you health care would be better. I pay for what I need good or bad. If it means better care...then yes.
I don't know anything different! And I think a lot would be covered by my insurance...I work at an insurance company (Manulife) so we have pretty decent benefits. But it would be interesting to see what the actual cost is.
I disagree with people who say our system is so flawed because of wait times. Both of my parents have had VERY serious medical problems, (Stage 3 grade 3 cancer, and 2 heart attacks) and have been treated immediately! Sure you may have to wait a while if you want a Hip or knee replacement, but that's not life and death.. it's more a quality of life wait.
The other thing that I really like is someone who really isn't happy does have the option to go to the states and pay out of pocket themselves for "better" care.
Some of my friends have had 'the best' insurance, and after one incident can no longer find anyone to insure them for less than an arm and leg each year because they now have 'pre existing conditions'.... Also I've seen several examples of people who thought they had air tight insurance, only to not have their care covered because the insurance company started digging around, looking for any excuse not to pay.
I just think that if the 'norm' is with good insurance to still pay $150+ to walk in to the hospital with my kid I would more often than not skip it... and then I think about how sad it is that parents have to choose between feeding their family or seeking medical attention for their child....
Yes I agree some parents may not take their children to care if they have to pay for it. For us we pay in our farm taxes towards the health care. So if I was to take that money and pay for health care would be no different.
Our local hospital is going from 120 beds to 60. That covers the whole central southern Saskatchewan. There is not enough beds now, so going to 60 is only going to make it worse. I know a lot of people that have been refused at our hospital for birthing because there was not room. So they get an ambulance ride to another hospital 1-2 hrs away.
I think there is problems with our health care. Most people have a insurance right now anyway because of the cost of drugs. So we pay to see the doctor too.
I disagree with the term "free medical" for starters, it isn't free, we pay for it differently (through taxes). I also disagree that our wait times aren't a problem, I think it depends on where in Canada you live. My grandfather had a more mild form of lung cancer and they put off treating it for months, when he went back it had spread and gotten worse and there was no longer anything they could do.
However, if given the choice between ours and theirs, I would still choose ours.
Yes I also agree calling it 'Free' isn't accurate. That's my bad. But I feel strongly that I'm not willing to give up the system that we have in favor of the Americanized health care. Could it be better? By a long shot, yes! Do I think the American system (money aside) is "better"? In many ways, no.
Statistically it isn't all that great either. Mother and infant mortality are higher than ours (6.00 vs 4.85/1000 live births) etc. and their obesity related health problems are slightly higher as well.
A family friend was diagnosed with cancer at a similar time as my mom was. They both got quick, decent care, he had 'good insurance' and still came out so far in debt their family declared bankruptcy. He's clearly stated that if the cancer comes back, he won't seek treatment, because he'd already be leaving his family with nothing. I just don't see how anyone could want that system over ours.
And like I said, if someone really isn't happy with wait times, you CAN pay for care out of pocket. Imagine if that were your only option! No matter where you are I believe you have to advocate for your own care. There are people everywhere who fall through the cracks, and it is known that Dr.s are human and make poor calls on both sides of the border.
To pose another question.... do you think it would be better (it would send a stronger message) if we were sent receipts that show itemized costs for appointments/testing?
I know it sure made me think twice after seeing that less than 5 minute appointment cost "somebody" $200!!!!
I wasn't trying to correct you, I hope you didn't think that!
To answer your last question, I think it's a great idea in theory but since we're not actually paying the $200 for that 5 minute appointment I don't think it would change much. As a general rule, people don't care that it cost somebody $200 because it didn't cost them $200, kwim?
No, I was just acknowledging that I don't actually think it's 'free'. There are some out there I'm sure that really do think that way. Our taxes are higher for exactly that reason.
For me it was just a shock. I had never considered that there was a real number, or 'fee' that was covered to seek care. I can't be the only person who really mindlessly went to the walk in for whatever minor condition without considering it potentially cost that much money.
I'm not sure if it would make people think twice, but it would be nice for people to have access to that information. I'm not big for going to the doctor (I have to think I'm dying lol), but I think it will be different with Cam...if I can't get a clear cohesive answer from google or JM, I'll make the appointment. I think its different once its about kids.
That said, still would be nice to have access to the information...but the cost/benefit of providing that information wouldn't pay off so I doubt we'd ever see it.