April 20, 2006

Tommy Douglas: Not Dead Enough

There's more than one way to shorten a waiting list.

Leader Post;

The family of a 57-year-old Meath Park woman says it will take at least three months before their mother gets to see a Saskatchewan oncologist who can tell her if her cancer is treatable or fatal.

And while Health Minister Len Taylor says three months is too long to wait, he offered little Wednesday to indicate wait times to see cancer specialists in this province will soon be getting shorter.

Emily Morley has already waited a month to see an oncologist since receiving her biopsy results that identified her secondary cancer, but were inconclusive in determining the primary source. Until that primary source is identified, her treatment cannot begin.

And even though the cancer is now in Morley's lungs, liver, pancreas and spine, the Saskatoon Cancer Clinic has advised her it will still take at least three months to see an oncologist.

This after several weeks of diagnostic wait times piling up. However, the Health Minister has assured the family that as soon as they find some oncologists, those lists will shorten!

You'd think that having the "cradle of medicare" for the Best Health Care System In The World[tm] located next door to a country routinely cited as among the worst would result in having to beat doctors back over the border with a stick.

A family member is currently being interviewed on John Gormley Live. Now that publicity has hit the fan, they've found her an appointment on the 27th.

Posted by Kate at April 20, 2006 10:45 AM

Canadians Discuss Canadian Health Care from Amy Ridenour's National Center Blog
For a consumer's-eye-view of the Canadian health care system, which some urge Americans to adopt, check out the comments on the Small Dead Animals blog post I [Read More]

Tracked on April 21, 2006 9:45 PM

Canadians Discuss Canadian Health Care from Amy Ridenour's National Center Blog
Kate at Small Dead Animals says of Canada's long waits for certain health care services: "There's more than one way to shorten a waiting list." [Read More]

Tracked on April 21, 2006 9:46 PM


Squeaky wheel still works.

Shaming the system most often falls to a family member, who will ask the hard questions, often and straight-up.

And it means that another patient will have just lost their position in that same wait-line.

Posted by: Buffalo Bean at April 20, 2006 11:00 AM

We have the best healthcare system in the world, just don't get sick.

Posted by: Ken at April 20, 2006 11:07 AM

A far more typical experience with the health care system than most people realize. As someone deeply embedded within it, in my opinion we are past the point of no return. The opportunity to fix the health care system passed, depending on the province, 5-10 years ago. Currently, it lurches from one crisis management scenario to another and there soon won't be enough critical mass within the system to do even that.

Posted by: Boudica at April 20, 2006 11:09 AM

Waiting lists are frequently cited as indicative of our medical systems ills, and while they are perhaps the best measure, there is no mention of the "rationing" that goes on. A relative was recently diagnosed with a coronary blockage on her second trip to Emergency. The first trip resulted in a mis-diagnosis because the Doctor on shift used an old 12 probe ECG.
She was given a powerful clot disolving drug that gave her a better than even chance of surviving. She did survive and was advised by her specialist to have a follow-up coronary cathiterization. (please excuse the spelling) She was denied the second procedure with a bogus medical reason. She had no chest pain, a symprom commonly missing with heart attacks, mostly in women.
Not on any waiting list.

Posted by: Gunney99 at April 20, 2006 11:38 AM

Boudica, you are absolutely correct. We have indeed passed the point of no return. The rhetoric surronding this issue is covering up a worse situation than anyone can imagine. When one becomes ill it is too late to start fighting. This woman in the article is far past the point of return--how many other Canadians are suffering in silence?
Our x-ray equipment is dangerous and will not be upgraded. Our bed situation is over-filled, and yet politicians and special interest groups keep applauding universal healthcare. The only thing universal about it is that most Canadians will not be treated with the most up-to-date equipment, if at all,--those that can afford it go to other countries for treatment--taking their money with them.
The system has imploded under it's own weight and no one seems willing to do anything about it--bandaids are the order of the day. We have, in effect, no healthcare 'system', it is a farce. Words do not heal--and that is all we get.

Posted by: George at April 20, 2006 11:40 AM

The problem with the "Squeaky wheel still works" approach is that you have to wonder who got shuffled to the back of the line.

Polititians are really great at appearing to make things happen, when all they did was shuffle the deck.

We're back to "ACCOUNTABILITY", again.

Posted by: Mike in White Rock at April 20, 2006 11:42 AM

The socialist left is not interested in health care. They are interested in their hatred of those with more than them.

They are interested in "levelling the playing field" and if that means lowering everyone to substandard care instead of raising the poor up, so be it. They're interested in preventing someone else from getting better care than them, not in improving the care received by the poor.

They don't care if people die on waiting lists. The whole left is about envy and hate and greed. It's about bringing down "the Man" and so-called "social justice."

If they destroy the rich without even helping the poor they're happy (except of course that the millionaire socialists in Rosedale and the Annex don't consider themselves "the rich." It's the other "rich" that are the problem - the capitalists who earned their money, not them!) It combines hypocrisy with hatred, envy and greed. The left are most hateful people on earth.

Posted by: Warwick at April 20, 2006 11:47 AM

At the risk of making an internet diagnosis, it looks like Tommy's Dream Team is letting nature cull the queue. Lung cancer (bad), pancreas (even worse) and spine (painful) already and they haven't found the primary site? That doesn't sound good but the real crime is keeping her waiting for three months. My sympathies go out to these people caught in the bureaucratic interperetation of the utopic healthcare system.

As I've said before, the American system isn't perfect but there is a whole world of medical care systems in different countries that seem to work. Try looking at other models besides North Korea or Cuba, eh.

Posted by: Texas Canuck at April 20, 2006 11:58 AM

Canadians have bought into the socialist myth of a state funded , state run medical system, being essential for decent health care.
My wife had her knee x-rayed about a year ago, the image showed nothing wrong, but the joint was still painful, especially for someone who has to walk miles daily in her job.
She went to a private diagnostic imaging clinic, and their nice new x-ray, clearly showed bone spurs. When she mentioned the previous x-ray at the hospital, the technician, who had previously worked at that hospital, informed her that the machine was 1952 vintage.
Wait times are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, the equipment is scarce, and generally old.
How much of our medicare dollars go to administration, does anyone know? The local health region voted the admins an 18% raise a year ago, while cutting the wages of the workers by 15%.
I worked in the civil service years ago, and remember that it was very top heavy with administrative staff. Wonder if the same is true of the "greatest medical system on earth"?

Posted by: dmorris at April 20, 2006 11:59 AM

Warwick - I believe you're right but it goes beyond you're statements. It's been a big component in getting the Lieberals re-elected. Prior to last election the Lieberals has quite succesful in scaring many Canadians into believing that if the Conservatives were elected we'd soon be dying in the streets; many people seemed unable to realize that the Conservatives would probably actually want to be re-elected.
Protecting a union hegemony in healthcare is likely also a component of the Liberal & NDP platforms. The media loves to have the head of a nurse's union comment on any proposed changes to healthcare, no vested interest there!
... and no, Jack Layton didn't realize that was a private clinic (sure)!

Posted by: Kevin at April 20, 2006 12:11 PM

Harper is going to fix wait times. This is one of his top five priorities.

Posted by: steve d. at April 20, 2006 12:14 PM

AE???? Adverse Event. Up to & including death as a result of "health care" in Canada in horsepitals.

Sue a hospital/doctor? Why sue when the corpus cannot talk? +

The Canadian Adverse Events Study: the incidence of adverse events among hospital patients in Canada
AEs are unintended injuries or complications resulting in death, disability or prolonged hospital stay that arise from health care management.
Interpretation: The overall incidence rate of AEs of 7.5% in our study suggests that, of the almost 2.5 million annual hospital admissions in Canada similar to the type studied, about 185 000 are associated with an AE and close to 70 000 of these are potentially preventable. +

Posted by: maz2 at April 20, 2006 12:15 PM

Are you folks trying to say that, when Paul Martin announced that he "had fixed health care for a generation", he wasn't telling the truth???

Gosh, who knew??

Posted by: Bruce at April 20, 2006 12:19 PM

Apologies for the errors in my post, have to stop posting while taking phone calls.

Posted by: Kevin at April 20, 2006 12:21 PM

Rationing is the only possible outcome of the system we have set up.

It's amazing we've put up with it for so long.

Posted by: MolarMauler at April 20, 2006 12:27 PM

Are there problems in the system? You bet. So what is YOUR solution, Kate, beyond the usual free-market nostrum?

Posted by: zuma at April 20, 2006 12:43 PM

This experience is quite a contrast to the one that my step-father in the US (Utah) experienced just three weeks ago. He had a routine checkup and the doctor was concerned about possible prostate cancer and ordered a biopsy. A week later a specialist had the results – 7 of the 12 samples were cancerous. This meeting with the specialist was on a Friday…he asked my stepfather what he was doing Monday morning (three days later) because the doctor wanted to have him in first thing Monday morning (7 AM) to operate. The operation was a success…and my stepfather is now home recovering. And, no, my stepfather isn’t some rich guy with a fabulous health plan…he is just a middle class office worker with access to a good doctor and a RESPSONSIVE (as opposed to egalitarian) medical system.

Two more anecdotal stories…I have only lived in Saskatchewan for 6 years, but in the 6 years I have been here I have personally known:

· one person who was misdiagnosed with appendicitis here in Regina and have his appendix unnecessarily removed, only to return to his home in the US to find out he really had Crone’s disease,
· a friend from Alberta who was diagnosed with leukemia (in Regina), only to return to Alberta to find out that, yes he had leukemia, but the type of leukemia had been misdiagnosed here.

Again, I recognize these as anecdotal and may not speak for the state of the overall state of the healthcare system...but experiences like these really make me question the effectiveness of our healthcare system. Fairness and equality are nice values to have...but when it comes to healthcare there may be more important values, such as effectiveness and responsiveness.

Just my $0.02

Posted by: JTH at April 20, 2006 12:49 PM

What do you mean "beyond"?

Unlike many Canadians, I actually have quite a number of friends of various ages who live in the US. I'll let you in on a little secret - I've yet to hear any of them worry aloud because they were on a waiting list for diagnostics or surgery.

None of them are wealthy people. They simply budget their health premiums in the way that we do our car insurance, and other payments.

Hey, but this is Canada - it's ok if one dies from a condition prematurely because it took months to see a specialist, so long as one avoids greater tragedy of mortgaging your home.

Man, oh man. How brainwashed are we that you'd discount the "free market" as even part of a solution????

I say open it up. Wide open. If someone wants to build a hospital and sell heart surgery privately, let 'em.

Posted by: Kate at April 20, 2006 12:54 PM

Reminds me of my mother way back in 1998 when she was sick with a degenerative neurological condition known as "striatonigral degeneration".

In short, the condition is the deterioration of the cells in one's brain that produce dopamine and hence causes the the gradual loss of all the autonomic functions, such as elimination, muscle control, focussing one's eyes, body temperature regulation, and eventually heart.

The "system" told us to wait for 9 months to get a Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI) scan. This was after about 9 months with still no diagnosis I blew a gasket and faxed the Prime Minister and Premier of the Province along with about 22 other Ministers "Responsible" and basically said they were just engaging in 'supervised neglect' and the next letter would be from a lawyer.

With copies of said faxes I packed up my mother and made my way down to the UBC Health Science Centre and told the head nurse in emergency that they were taking my mother today. She read my strongly worded missive to the various Ministers "Responsible" and quickly came back and assured me that whatever other problems they had they would find her a bed and do the tests required. After a 3 week stay with a muliple battery of tests, she was sent home as the state of neuroscience at the time offered no reasonable hope of a cure, but managed to offer a drug regimen which was palliative in nature.
She died some time later in April 2000.

Next came my son in September 2000 who was diagnosed with Type 1 insulin dependent diabetes.
I applied for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) and was told by CRA that my son's condition wasn't life threatening. Of course this is why he was 3 hours from coma territory and a permanent "lights out". In a subsequent, letter CRA suggested that to qualify for the DTC one must show that "if treatment were withheld an organ or group of organs vital to sustain human life would fail"!!!

In a brilliant tour de farce CRA requires that the onus is on the applicant to disprove any statements they make. In short, I have been asked in writing to kill my son for the purposes of qualifying for the Disability Tax Credit!

If you read the following court case one will discover why this may cause one to expire:

Citation: R. v. Tutton, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1392, 1989 CanLII 103 (S.C.C.)

This is why we have the Rupprecht family axiom:

"If government is the help, we have no need for enemies."

Government, for our family, continues to perform at our lowest expectation and always manages to pass what is known in the family as the "DUMB BASTARDS" test set out below:

No matter how carefully government legislation is crafted or how circumspect government acts there will always, at some time, be some DUMB BASTARD who will violate common sense, morality, law and simple human decency.

This fall 2005 my father in law was in need of an MRI for a degenerative spine condition follow-up. Again, we were told that the wait would take some 6 to 8 months.

I phoned up a friend, who happens to work at the VGH radiology department and got her to "jimmy" the system and father in law got the MRI in two weeks.

For five generations now we have been told by government, in various diverse ways, through war, threat or neglect to "Go away and die."

Personally, for government this has always been standard operating procedure!! We haven't experienced anything different, why on earth would we expect such lofty goals as timely care and attention.

If I had lost my temper, I would have sent my next remittance to CRA at high speed in lead!
Then of course I would be sitting in Kent Maximum Security facility deciding whether I wanted lobster or steak dinner for Christmas.

On second thought....oh forget it.

The golden rule as interpreted by government has become the following:

"He who has the gold, makes the rules!"

Government can mark me down as somewhat south of hostile and definitely under the "doubtful" column.

As I said in my submission to Tax Court, it is easier to believe in the miracles of Christmas than the veracity of government. This statement was made of course in reference to our "beloved LIEberals".

Hey only 10 more sleeps to that fateful moment when we all have 'sex at midnight with the government'; known in more erudite circles as the "tax filing DEADline". Of course the sunnier fact is that this is the year the LIEberals were finally turfed from office for 13 years of waste, corruption and dumb bastard behaviour.

On that note CHEERS.

Honey, where is my beer stein?

Posted by: Hans Rupprecht at April 20, 2006 12:55 PM

And a free market solution to health care wouldn't come with a concomitant disolution of any form of public safety net.

The public purse can be used to subsidize or flat-out pay for health insurance where there is need.
As well, making health insurance payments payable with pre-tax dollars for individuals would also be a great for those who are self-employed or working for a small business.

There are plenty of ways to pay for health that don't involve the government rationing it for us.
And GPs are private providers so tell me what is wrong with a private hospital? Is it more private because it's bigger?

Posted by: MolarMauler at April 20, 2006 1:04 PM

I have family in Illinois and Oregon and emailed them this article and a few of your posts. I wanted to make sure they were informed of what exactly Canadian-style universal healthcare will get you. I know that there is a continuing debate in the US about their healthcare system - it may not be perfect but it sure beats what we've got here.

As for healthcare premiums. You're right Kate, premiums are just a part of your household budget much like hydro and car insurance. It is also a big part of your job search i.e. what kind of benefits will your employer provide.

For those on the lower income rung, those who hold part time jobs, Health insurance is an issue. For them, yes, I think the US needs to come up with an affordable solution (note I didn't say Free).

I lived in the US for 30 years before moving to Canada. I think the difference between the two mindsets is that while in the US I viewed my health care as my responsibility i.e. I needed to make sure that I had adequate coverage. In Canada, I think people have fallen into the view that it's the Government's responsibility that I'm looked after.

None of us should entrust the government with that kind of repsonsibility over our well being.

Posted by: sooz at April 20, 2006 1:08 PM

Kate... I don't discount the"free market as only part of a solution", I discount it as the only solution, which is what you advocate when you say " Open it up. Wide open." Despite the anecdotal evidence, the American system has huge problems as well, in terms of the cost to business, those who cannot get ANY insurance be cause of pre-existing conditions, personal bankrupcy because of medical expences, etc.
As I understand it, a facility or practioner has always had the option of going completely private if they opt out of the public system.

Posted by: zuma at April 20, 2006 1:20 PM

Sooz "None of us should entrust the government with that kind of repsonsibility over our well being."

If I knew I was going to get a reduction in my premiums if my doctor and I could stabilize my blood sugar, or if I quit smoking, or if I lost that 20 pounds and stayed compliant with my cholesterol and blood pressure meds; you can bet I'd be a bit more responsible.
If I was told by three or four specialists that they wouldn't take my knee replacement on unless I stopped smoking for at least 3 months do you think I might just get the message?

Posted by: MolarMauler at April 20, 2006 1:20 PM

Shameful. The proponents of universal healthcare would do well to sit with this family and try to look them in the eye while telling them that they have the greatest system of healthcare in the world. It does not occur to them that the system is in dire repair because for them, the aristocrats of pull, their needs are met promptly.

ZUMA... You want better solutions? How about starting with allowing people choice. I have a brother in law who cannot walk without numbness and pain because he has a degenerative disk. Why is his only option on Canadian soil to wait until Feb 2007 (that is his appt.). Now he was planning on going to Michigan to get the MRI, but the problem there is that there is no one here who could even look at it for him until 2007. It is an embarrassment and a shame, but lets not let that get in the way of our freakin' cheerleading. What if the Canadian system was single payer, but the government didn't need to own the bricks and mortar, didn't need to employ the cafeteria staff... So my idea... the government provides insurance that says they will pay for any treatment currently covered under the Canada health plan. People who want to be paid for their services by the insurance would need to satisfy whatever criteria the people as represented by our government saw fit and if a person made 250000 a year, maybe he/she could kick in a couple of bucks for their coverage. I cannot see what is wrong with that. There are some problems with our geographical diversity, but those could be dealt with in terms of having the insurance pay different rates for services performed in places where it might be hard to attract physicians. I just think that people who sit back enjoying their health and saying the debate cannot move forward because any change from the current system will mean that we will have sick people roaming the streets. Have a little more faith in the Canadian public.

Posted by: Jeff P at April 20, 2006 1:21 PM

I always get a chuckle from those who defend mediscare, and attack private clinics. They are usually those who are cue jumpers or haven't been left stranded. My daughter has a chronic illness and the nightmare that the "system" has put us through would make good reading in a suspense thriller. From misplaced tests, to misdiagnosis, to pissing matches between specialists that just about got her killed, the system is a mess. Waiting lists are just the tip of the iceburg. Beneath the water is an enormous iceblock of inefficiency, waste, politics, and substandard care at all levels. I've seen it, I've been there, and I hate it.

I have the advantage of being married to an ex-nurse who knows what it used to be like. She can spot soviet-style care a mile off, and believe me, that is what we have in many departments and on many wards. I saved my daughters life by becoming a total asshole and "demanding" action; with the help of my wife who knew exactly what political buttons and "terms" to use. I had them scrambling like ants in a disturbed hill, but not until I became nasty. What about all the polite Canadians who don't know any better.

Here's a teaser. My daughters post-op room had dirty dressings piled up and falling onto the floor in the waste basket over aweekend. Nobody cleaned up the mess. And this, in a post-op ward in Tommy's utopia. In a post-op ward where infection can kill.

Posted by: Debris Trail at April 20, 2006 1:26 PM

Not sure what your point is - maybe I'm just being dense today.

But one thing is for wouldn't be seeing 3-4 specialists in Canada regarding your knee would you?


Posted by: sooz at April 20, 2006 1:38 PM

20 yrs. ago the father of my friend was diagnosed with cancer and told the next step was to see a specialist, and that there was a 4 month waiting period. The doctor suggested a doctor in the US, since he knew that quick treatment was vital. Since one of his sons had money, they made an appointment, got in right away, and were told the same thing, he needed to see a specialist. 10 minutes later he saw the specialist, and then straight to the lab for tests, and then directly into the hospital (which was attached to the clinic)for surgery. 9 days later he was discharged and lived another 12 years until he died of old age. In Canada he would likely have been terminal, because he wouldn't have gotten treatment in time. That's the horrible American health care that the Liberals and NDP have been warning us about.

Posted by: dirtman at April 20, 2006 1:42 PM

90% of Canadians live within a 2 hour drive of the US. If private health care will answer your prayers take a little drive or tell your friends to do it. We already have lots of it real close. Do you need to have it down the street? Take a little initiative and take a short drive. You will be welcomed with open arms and given the best service money can buy.

Posted by: steve d. at April 20, 2006 1:42 PM

And though there are serious problems with US health care, their gov't spends more per capita on health care than we do, in addition to all that private health care. For seniors there is medicare, and for the poor uninsured people, there is medicaid. The very rich have the ultimate health care because they pay for it all themselves, but the poor don't wait the way we do.

Posted by: dirtman at April 20, 2006 1:45 PM

JeffP, a single payer is the problem.
The same single payer who can't afford to deliver health care now won't be able to afford health care even if the delivery side was totally privatized. The single payer is rationing things now. They'll still be rationing it later.

Even something simple like a deductible will go a huge distance to people making smarter choices. If someone insists on an analogy for this, look at windshield insurance. Without a deductible I'd have had my windshield replaced a few times already. With a deductible I've explored other solutions like resin-filling the early dings I get so the cracks don't spread.

Besides deductibles, having choices in the types of plans allows someone as a diabetic to purchase insurance that gives them access to diabetes clinics that'll manage their whole disease and bring all the outside the health care system resources to bear on their problem. It'll make them healthier as well as well as driving the cost to the system down.
If I want to choose a plan that focuses on prevention and Eastern medicine, then bully for me, it's my money and I'll be healthier. The cost to the system goes down.

It isn't about uniformity, it's about choice.
The more get away from a single-payer the better. Unless we want single payer as in "here's your health care money- go buy yourself some insurance". That is silly in it's own way as it'd force healthy people to overpurchase insurance.
I'd rather see a system where you could use before tax dollars to purchase health insurance and you were free to buy whatever plan suits you best. It'd be mandated by law that you had to buy it. If that was a problem for you, then take it up with social services.
Maybe then there would be incentive to treat sick people instead of ignoring them.

Posted by: MolarMauler at April 20, 2006 1:49 PM

Steve D... You know why people don't just drop out of the debate? let the healthcare system go to pot and take their business to the US? It is because Canadians care about our healthcare. We don't want people to have to go to US for treatment, we want a system that works, what a radical idea. Man, that was cold. I emplore you to go to someone who has just gotten the news that they have a debilitating condition and bithely tell them that they should travel the "2 hours" to the US to get healthcare... Don't worry that we spend enough per person in Canada to get top flight insurance in the states, but the people who get timely treatment are those who know someone in the system. See, with the soldiers of the status quo, queue jumping is ok, but it is only they who can do it. Man, that was out of bounds, people are dying, dude.

Posted by: Jeff P at April 20, 2006 1:50 PM

Earth to Steve D. Canadians already are making that "short drive" to the border - along with all their dollars.

Wouldn't it make sense to keep it in the Canadian economy and have them drive just down the block??

They'd help the environment too, eh?

Posted by: sooz at April 20, 2006 1:51 PM

steve d:

That is simply not the point, don't be so obtuse.

Here's a slogan for you:

"Promise made, promise broken."

It would appear that the Supreme Court of Canada is not on your side. Try reading this decision and the lovely black eye the LIEberals deserve for having lead us all down the garden path:

Citation: Chaoulli v. Quebec (Attorney General), [2005] 1 S.C.R. 791, 2005 SCC 35 (CanLII)

You really need to keep up with your reading.

Posted by: Hans Rupprecht at April 20, 2006 1:51 PM

Molar, I agree with you, but I jsut think you have to start somewhere.. I would certainly welcome a private insurance system so that I can buy coverage based on my level of health, my assessment of risk, he services I desire, etc.. but right now we have the worst of all worlds, so I think that the best way to move forward is to get over the first big roadblock.. It would be a confidence building step in which people would be able to see that the world does not come to an end if someone who is risking their capital in the provision of healthcare makes a profit instead of that money and more going to the buearocrats. You are spot on, but lets start somewhere.

Posted by: Jeff P at April 20, 2006 1:56 PM

And Sooz, my point was that I agree with you in that we need to be responsible about our health because the government can't do a good job of being responsible for our health. The 3-4 specialist thing was projected into a world where health care was private. You are correct that in today's world we wait for months to see a specialist that we have very little choice in selecting for ourselves.

And SteveD? Your solution is that we drive to the States to get our health care? Did I read that right? So it's not okay for us to spend our own Canadian money for a service we should be able to get in Canada, but it's okay for us to spend it in a foreign country? Whose side are you on? Or rather, what planet?

But you're right. I am 'forced' to buy critical illness insurance so if I get something bad, I can survive for 30 days, get my cheque and do just that. But maybe, do you think I should have another choice than to drain our money south of the border.

Posted by: MolarMauler at April 20, 2006 1:57 PM

Maybe SteveD likes the waiting lists as it makes legalized medicianl marijuana an attractive alternative to responsive health care.

Posted by: MolarMauler at April 20, 2006 1:59 PM

Why not just have the gov't buy us all private insurance in the US? Or better yet allow us to buy it. They get coverage for everyone and no hassle for them. Contract the healthcare services out like they have done our military capability for the last 50 years.

Posted by: Shawn at April 20, 2006 2:21 PM

With 30 million of us, I'd bet they could give us a great rate.

Posted by: MolarMauler at April 20, 2006 2:24 PM

Shawn you almost got it right. All the government would have to do is 'allow' us to buy the insurance ourselves.

I'd have no problem at this point running south if I really needed to. The problem is paying for it. That's the purpose of insurance, for what it costs to insure your car you could get some kick ass medical coverage.

If I were allowed to buy insurance for myself and my family the problem would be over.

Posted by: Farmer Joe at April 20, 2006 2:35 PM

MRSA, H5N1, Bird Flewenza: Out damned bug. (H/T Lady Macbeth). +

Daily Record ^ | Greig Box

Posted on 04/20/2006 11:33:27 AM PDT by FARS

Hope over spray

AN ORDINARY handwash costing just £2.99 can kill the bird flu virus in 30 seconds, tests have found.

No-Germs, a simple hand spray, has been on sale over the counter for two years. But when the H5N1 avian flu outbreak gathered pace among birds, No-Germs owners decided to test it against the virus.

The results, revealed yesterday, were remarkable - the handwash was more tha 99.8 per cent efficient in killing H5N1. The discovery has been heralded as a "major breakthrough" - particularly if the virus ever mutates into a human form.

Sean Campbell, managing director of the British company behind the product, said: "We are very excited.

"We tested the product against H5N1 on the off-chance. We were confident it would work as it kills most viruses, including hospital superbug MRSA. +

Posted by: maz2 at April 20, 2006 2:47 PM

They teach you in Kindergarten to wash your hands for as long as it takes to sing 'Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star'.

Of course if you do a Number Two, it's better to sing 'Have You Seen The Muffin Man'.

Posted by: MolarMauler at April 20, 2006 3:01 PM

Gee, handwashing is hygienic!!

My wife, THE SUPREME dental hygienist, resolutely reminds our family of this fact on a regular basis.

Now we only have to worry about the ebola virus, that the professional dummies from the Texas sugggested we need to release, to keep the human population under control.

Whew, one catastrophe avoided; just duck and cover!

Posted by: Hans Rupprecht at April 20, 2006 3:01 PM

This is not so difficult to figure out.
Look if we allow the private system to set up next to the public you will have to have shuttle buses for the health care professionals. This is not going to help wait times. Unless you are one of those that thinks these medical specialists grow on trees and are a dime a dozen. If we are arready experiencing wait times that we find unacceptable what would happen if we spread our specialists between two different and competing systems?
If you have something serious and they are not dealing with it within a decent time frame then look south. You will get good prompt service and you won't be worsening the wait time problem up here.
We already have a great private system close by. We have the best of both worlds.

Meanwhile if we want a better health care system we have to demand it and perhaps be ready to pay a little more.
If Harper doesn't get it done then throw him out. Don't keep re-electing guys that don't do what they say they are going to do.

Posted by: steve d. at April 20, 2006 3:08 PM

Here is an idea that I am sure Steve D would support.

Opt out.

Give me the percentage of my tax dollars that go to health care back and let me pay for it myself.

Why should I pay for health care in Canada when Steve D says I can just go to the US to get care?

How long to you think the Canadain health care system would last if that happened?

Posted by: MB at April 20, 2006 3:24 PM

Okay, I promise I'll stop re-electing Harper if you promise to start making sense.

Posted by: MolarMauler at April 20, 2006 3:27 PM

Steve d. Why will everyone abandon the public health care system for the private? Are you saying that the best healthcare system in the world cannot sustain any competition? It implies that we are forcing providers of health care into a system that is not to their liking for our "benefit". So do you think we have the right to force a health care provider to provide service the way we want or to leave the country? That does not seem to be a moral stance. I want the people in the health care system to feel they are valued, to free them from crippling bureaucracy, to allow them to earn a living in concert with the value of service that they render.

Posted by: Jeff P at April 20, 2006 3:30 PM

$2billion spent on the gun registry might not put a huge dent in healthcare, but it would have been a start. Add the 1000 nights in Cancun, David Dingwall's severance, sponsorship $, etc etc -- there should be enough for healthcare.

Posted by: morison at April 20, 2006 3:42 PM

Steve D.

I have many family members in the medical field. I chose to do anything but.

Did you know we are losing specialists to the US because they're only allowed to do their work a few days a week? There are surgeons who can only operate 1 day a week in the public sector because there aren't enough support staff or beds to allow them to do more than that. We've had world-class surgeons leave for US teaching hospitals because of lack of funding for basic care, never mind research. If there was a private clinic for these doctors to operate in the other 4 days, a lot more patients would get seen, there would be less strain on the public system which could be used to hire more support staff to get services going (given that the sunk costs in hospitals have to be paid whether the patients are seen or not, having idle doctors and long waits is just bad management.) The biggest complaints that doctors have with the system is not that they're underpaid (as they are in comparison to the US) but that they're not supported, don't have the tools to do their jobs and get no respect from the government or public.

Thanks to idiot government policy (whose pinnacle was Bob Rae's Ontario,) the governments thought that they way to control costs was to cut back on the number of doctors trained. They believed that the problem with the health care system was that there were too many greedy doctors billing too much instead of seeing the problem as a direct consequence of a "free" service out of control. The demand for anything "free" is infinity. There will never be enough. This didn't stop the government. They closed down a good portion of the number of med schools spots as well as reducing the number of residencies for training specialists. Not surprisingly, there is now a doctor shortage. Combine this with the government's complete inability to figure out how to get foreign trained doctors actually practicing medicine instead of driving cabs (deliberate ploy to keep a shortage to save money?)

The health care mess would be the biggest class-action law suit in US history if it were an American HMO. The negligence award would be surpased only but the punative award in its massive scale. In Canada though, we have the most incompetent HMO's going and they're state-run, unaccountable and a monopoly and there's nothing we can do until the asshat drooling idiot public stops listening to media scaremongers and demands choice and accountability.

In no sane country would the status quo be acceptable.

Posted by: Warwick at April 20, 2006 3:52 PM

They'll never be enough money for health care until people stop trying to manage our money for us; governments, corporations and employers.

Posted by: MolarMauler at April 20, 2006 3:54 PM

"The negligence award would be surpased only but the punative award in its massive scale"


Posted by: Warwick at April 20, 2006 4:08 PM

I wrote a fluff-piece on my blog in March called 'Universal Pants Insurance'.

The link is

Posted by: MolarMauler at April 20, 2006 4:20 PM

It was Mike Harris who took over $2billion from Health Care, closed hospitals, lost 10,000 nurses, increased wait times, caused ambulance drivers to have to drive all over the city because the few emergency rooms were full. He was the Primiere from Hell for sure.

He took a similar amount from the school system.
All this in order to pay for tax cuts because we were paying too much tax. Well, we got our tax cuts all right. With all the disruptions in the school system I took my daughter out and put her in private school ($14-17K per).
So for a few bucks in tax cuts(I can't even remember how much, that's how big a deal it was)it created chaos for the sick and the children.

Now I am hearing this same rant from Harper. I am afraid of that phrase now and forever.

Posted by: steve d. at April 20, 2006 5:18 PM

Yeah Steve - that's why we have a shortage of dentists, chiropractors, car dealerships....

Posted by: Kate at April 20, 2006 5:33 PM

Yes, and as we all know, the private school system has lured all the teachers out of the public one.

Posted by: Kate at April 20, 2006 5:35 PM

And now you see what would happen if we let the Liberals implement their national daycare plan and the NDP implement their national prescription drug plan. These guys can't even bring in a gun registry at under $2 billion.
A parallel private system is the only answer.It is already partly here and is inevitable. The current system is simply not sustainable.

Posted by: Paul from Vancouver at April 20, 2006 5:43 PM

steve d - you bloody hypocrite. You say you took your daughter out of public school and enrolled her in a private system to the tune of $14K - $17K per year. Why? Because you didn't like the school system Mike harris was giving you. So, why would you deny anyone in Canada the right to do the same thing if they became similarly disenchanted with our disgraceful and bankrupt medicare system? Don't you think before you shoot off your mouth with your lefty bullshit?

Posted by: BCer at April 20, 2006 5:48 PM

The problem in the healthcare system (my non-expert opinion) is the lack of 3 basic needs for healthcare:

Lack of infrastructure (brick & mortars)
Lack of proper tools (stethoscope to diagnostic imagers)
Lack of people.

Infrastructure is easy, but depending on the scale it will take 1-5 years to build. (takes money and will with no medical professionals required)

Tools is easier. These could be bought off the shelf. Delivery stock to 2 years?

But people. Training people (from a high school graduate) will take 5 (?) years for a nurse to 10 years for a wet behind the ears doctor. No tell someone that they should be a doctor and be beholden to slave for the government at a rate dictated by the government for their entire medical career? Could you imagine the out cry if we had Universal legal aid/counsil paid for by the government? (Lets not talk about governments regulating medical schooling which also precipitated the crisis.)

For this reason, and others I think the pronouncements of PMPM and PMSH are total and utter BS.

Now here is one example how Public/Private healthcare would work.

Doc Fixer is a specialist in joint replacements. After spending years in the private system, he is feeling constrainted and decides to branch out to private. He could enter into two types of contracts the government.

He could contract with the government to use currently underutilized operating rooms/equipment. Maybe he has his own support team and merely needs the room and amenities. Maybe he needs support staff too. Rates can be negotiated. Or maybe he sets up his own custom operating room.

He could also contract with the government to perform X number of knee replacements per year. Since he is in competition with other doctors for this service, the government can choose the lower cost doctors. But Doctor Fixer could also take "walk in" patients.

So now we have Joe Public how needs a knee replacement. The system is full and he has to wait 2 years. Joe can live with this and The Government sends him their own doctor or send him to doctor Fixer if the load is too much for the public system. The government pays the full cost.

But Jane Public (no relation) also needs a knee replacement. The system is full and doesn't want to wait and goes to Doc Fixer. He uses some of the rented operating room time (or his own) and performs the surgery sooner. She pays to the cost or perhaps there is some co-pay system (since her costs are partial defrayed).

But as a private practitioner he is motivated to be efficient and can set his own workload. There is no motivation to be fiscally responsible in the public system. (If you don't use your budget you loose it the following year.)

Posted by: DKJONES at April 20, 2006 5:48 PM

I live in Chicago & work full-time at a not-very-well-paying clerical job while I finish grad school. When I was hired, I had the option of enrolling in one of two HMO/PPO-type plans (in which your choice of primary care & specialist physicians is very limited) or in a private-care plan (in which you pay more in terms of the monthly deduction from your paycheck, but you have a much wider choice of physicians).

Most of my co-workers opted for the HMO/PPO plans to save money (the deductibles are much lower on these as well). I decided to go with the private-care plan; I knew I'd have to watch my finances carefully, but I figured it was worth it (I'm pretty healthy, and have no dependents).

Eighteen months ago I tore a tendon in my right knee. It happened on a Thursday evening; I couldn't even put my weight on that leg the next morning, and I called my primary-care doctor right away. He saw me the next day (during his Saturday hours), set up an MRI for me the next Tuesday, and two days after that I saw a sports-medicine specialist who set up a treatment plan for me.

One of my co-workers who has the HMO/PPO plan got a nasty bladder infection a few months ago; she called her physician's office for an appointment and was told she would have to wait six weeks to be seen!! I've heard similar stories from people I know who have that particular health plan (yep, I'm piling on the anecdotal evidence, I know).

And yes, the US health-care system has terrible problems and it's only going to get worse. I've been fortunate in that a torn tendon has been my worst health problem in ten years. For anyone who has chronic health problems, the system is a nightmare.

Still, I'm extremely grateful that I at least HAD the option of a private-care health plan through my employer... I'd probably still be waiting for that MRI on my knee otherwise.

And no, my family isn't wealthy (lower middle-class all the way), I have no trust funds or hidden investment income, and no savings from previous jobs that I can draw on.

That's my $.02 (USD) worth.

Posted by: Stina at April 20, 2006 5:50 PM

You need to jump in with both feet Paul.
Parallel means we're paying twice, once for maintaining a useless and broken system and once to get the health care we want.
Why should we do that? Run a private system and help out people who can't afford insurance. That way the poor get the benefit of a better run, less costly system as well.

If anyone can get ahold of 'Consumer Driven Health Care' by Harvard Business professor Regina Herzlinger, I'd recommend the read. She approaches it from the point of view that managed care employer run health insurance of the States is broken and needs a dose of snaity and compassion as well.
It applies to us as well, only we have government playing the role of bloated in-efficient technocratic bureacracy instead of insurance companies.

Posted by: MolarMauler at April 20, 2006 5:52 PM

aside from working for a US company, how can I get coverage so I can get US health care? I have a friend who moved to Oregon and has nothing but positives to say about the american system.

As the saying goes, "It's the charter, stupid". The supreme court came within a hair's breadth of declaring monpolistic health care unconstitutional. It's about choice. Other than moving to a province with better care, what choice would this Sask. woman have? Aside from PUBLIC SHAME, what mechanism exists to get her better care?

Our current system is upside down; it serves the unions, board members, and administration. The patient is viewed as a cost. In no other enterprise would you turn people away in order to reduce costs. In no other field would one tolerate 3 months to deal with an urgent situation.

I don't want 2-tier; I want 20-tier. Give me a choice of insurance plans, clinics, and hospitals. I've lived the Sask system. Alberta is somewhat better, in that they have the funds to lure staff. But they're still a circle-jerk of bureaucracy and incompetence.

Cuba and North Korea are the only other countries that ban private health care. That says something. Let's get out of the 1960's politics.

Posted by: Norman Lorrain at April 20, 2006 5:54 PM

I live in Dalton/David McGuinty's riding in Ontario and it's not any better here. My wife had to wait for months last year for cancer appointments. And, yet David McGuinty (who was unfortunately re-elected) kept telling me not to worry, his brother was going to introduce new waiting time guarantees.

I share Kate's view. We've had enough of Tommy Douglas.

The greatest Canadian?

Gimme a Break.

That honour should have gone to Terry Fox - someone who actually did something to fight cancer.

Posted by: Two Cents at April 20, 2006 5:56 PM

Molarmauler I'm with you 100%! I just don't think the Canadian public is mature enough (or scared enough) yet to move to anything other than a parallel system. Any politician who talks about private health care gets crucified. I guess the system will have to get even worse before people realize that it is not sustainable. Or maybe our Supreme Court will have to strike again and rule that it offends the Charter.

Posted by: Paul from Vancouver at April 20, 2006 6:10 PM

I wish Alberta had vision enough to opt out of the public system entirely. I pay over $1000 a year into AHC Premiums with after-tax dollars as it is. Let me pay premiums for private insurance with pre-tax dollars and give me my $400 Ralphbucks each for my family of five and I'd have the start of being able to afford pretty decent health care plan for my family.
The money the province would save by getting out of health care would further reduce my taxes and make giving private insurance vouchers to the poor affordable.
Then everyone from the rest of Canada can come experience good health care and we'll bill Canada Health for their visits.
It wouldn't take long for the Alberta model to become the norm.

Instead, like you suggest, no one wants to slay the sacred cow and we end up with confusing transitional crap like the Turd Way.
I agree with you. It's going to take bankruptcy or Third World level of statistics to get people to accept a better way.

Posted by: molarmauler at April 20, 2006 6:36 PM

It always comes down to the lefty point of view that government can do everything better that private enterprise.

With very few exceptions this has been proven wrong time and time again.

Government will charge more, give less back and demand more and more money.

Steve, how typically hypocritical of you to put your child through private education. When it comes down to you or your family you will not follow through. Remember Layton and his visit to private clinics?

Couldn't support your brothers and sisters in the union movement? Can't support those underpaid, overworked teachers? Shame Steve. Shame on you. No better than a scab. Remember your comment Steve. Any education topics and this will be tossed back at you.

Posted by: enough at April 20, 2006 6:39 PM

Wait for it: The Answer.

Central Planning: Soviet Style. +

Centralized waiting lists could slash medical wait times, says adviser

OTTAWA (CP) - Medical lineups could be cut more than 20 per cent just by centralizing waiting lists, says federal wait times adviser Brian Postl. ... +

Posted by: maz2 at April 20, 2006 6:42 PM

I also live in AB. Last day worked AuG. 8 2005(Have a herniated disc which causes radial pain down left leg on good days, down both on bad, and have days when standing ir sitting are both a problem).Got in for an MRI Nov. 21! Have been accepted to see a neurosurgeon but the EARLIEST that will be is DECEMBER! Then it might be 6-18 months for surgery and rehab. End result? Might have to sell out and move to some town half the size of Kate's and two hours from work.
That's what you get for being honest.If I had taken some painkillers and gone to work(thus claiming it to be a comp case)I would have had surgery within a few weeks.With crap like this I would like to see anyone tell me it's not good to have any choices. The system's not broken? Yeah,right...

Posted by: Bruce b. at April 20, 2006 7:20 PM

I want the same healthcare system my dog has!

Posted by: rob at April 20, 2006 7:34 PM

Something has to change, but it won't until people realize and accept that someone, probably a corporation, is going to make a profit. Profit: the most foul word in the english language according to the Liberal/CCF/NDP moonbats.

Posted by: Trent at April 20, 2006 9:27 PM

I used too think I was badly done by the Medical system.
That is, until others started to reveal there own personnel medical travesties. Endured by a cold inhuman system.

I was even topped in abuse last week by a guy who had a similar experience. It made the paper. His ordeal lasted 18 hours.

I had a major heart attack. I was put on a gurney, in a hallway. At the time I was in great distress. Having a Major heart Attack.

For 13 hours as I laid there dying. During this, one nurse talked to me for about five minutes.

One aspirin was given me before I was put in the hallway. With the usual hospital accouterments.

If not for a Jewish Intern I would have left the Hospital. He seen me pull out the Glucose drip needle. I was on my way back home to die. I could not take it anymore.

He took one look at my chart & fur flew. He was outraged. I believe too this day he saved my life. A heart surgeon showed up 10 minutes latter.

The inquisition could not have been worse. The indifference by staff. The embarrassment of being almost buck naked in a hallway, (no blanket was given)plus the pain, almost drove me nuts. I reclined listening to perverse jokes by nurses, & there sexual adventures & other inanities.

The worst part though really is you lose your freedom & are treated less than human. Under menchen. Indifference can be crueler than torture. At least your acknowledged as human , if hated.

Posted by: Revnant Dream at April 20, 2006 9:59 PM

My cancer was discovered at around noon on a friday. The radiologist contacted the surgeon and they got their heads together (my doc was off on friday) and the upshot was that before midnight the same day, surgery was completed and i was back in my room.
All this proves is that those who dare to say to hell with the "system" are heros in the health care crisis. We need more of these people.
There was no worry about seeing an oncologist, no worry about scheduling problems, just get the job done.
My eternal thanks go out to those who use common sense.

Posted by: Lee at April 20, 2006 10:19 PM

dentists and teachers and car salesmen are not as rare as medical specialists. There are not enough medical specialists to support two systems. It would take years to graduate enough doctors to support two tiered health care.
It goes without saying that the added competition would increase the cost of the product. You know, the old supply and demand equation.

Yeah it broke my heart to have to take my daughter out of public school. But they were very sad places to be. All public employees were alternately, raging angry, horribly depressed or melancholy. This was not an environment for a child. A parent has to do what he can. I couldn't fire Mike Harris and I couldn't save all the children so I saved the one I loved. She thanks me today. That is all that is important.

Posted by: steve d. at April 21, 2006 12:26 AM

"dentists and teachers and car salesmen are not as rare as medical specialists..."

And you've never stopped to consider why that is.

Posted by: Kate at April 21, 2006 12:32 AM

To help you out with that question, ask yourself why it is that there are no 3 year waiting lists in the US, if doctors are indeed so "rare"....

Posted by: Kate at April 21, 2006 12:33 AM

funny you should mention supply and demand. As I recall from my Econ. class, as supply of something increases, the price goes down. Shrink back the supply and price rises (e.g. crude oil).

Regarding competition... remember when the state-owned telco's had a monopoly on phone service? We paid through the nose. Bring in competing provider, and wow, all of sudden the price drops.

You want to know the cause of the current shortage : in 1993 the Federal government commissioned a report on the cost of healthcare. In it they determined that costs were higher in regions that had more physicians (duh, they're seeing more patients!) So in their wisdom, they pared back enrollment in medical schools across Canada. I had friends in medical school at the time and everyone could see the end result of this. With an aging population, and attrition in the field, the coming shortage would be huge.

But aside from the shortage of physicians there's the insane bureaucratic practice of limiting (rationing) operating room time and hospital beds.

The current system sees the patient as a cost, and the patient is powerless to exercise their free choice. That's an injustice of the highest order.

Posted by: Norman Lorrain at April 21, 2006 12:48 AM

'Good thing my dad got cancer and died eight years ago, 'cause even then, things in the medical system weren't too good. I hate to think of the quality of care (sic) he'd get today.

One case in point: When my dad was transferred from one major Toronto Hospital to another, I decided to arrive early to make sure he got a top-up of his meds. Done. If I hadn't asked, it wouldn't have happened, I'm quite sure. The nurses looked a little miffed. When I asked who was managing my father's meds at the other hospital, where he was going for consultaion on palliative radiation (it wouldn't cure him, but it would give him and our family two more lucid weeks before he died, which it did), I was assured that as his meds chart was accompanying him to the other hospital there'd be no problem.

Yeah, right.

My dad waited for four hours on a stretcher in a public waiting area to be seen. When I asked the official on this beat about my father's meds, which he needed every two hours (he had fourth-stage cancer) and mentioned that his chart had come from the other hospital, I was told, "Oh, that doesn't mean anything. If a doctor here hasn't prescribed the meds we can't give them to your dad." A case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing?

Very quietly I said to this woman, "If my father doesn't get his meds while we're here (it ended up being an eight-hour ordeal), I will scream bloody murder. Find a way for this to happen, please."

'Turns out that she was very sympathetic (she'd been through a similar anomoly with her mother a few years before). She found a doctor to prescribe the meds and then told me that her problem was that she had no one to take the prescription downstairs to the hospital pharmacy. I told her I'd take it. Strictly verbotten, of course; but she gave me the prescription and half an hour later, I was handing her the medications which were then administered to my father.

If I hadn't been with him, he'd have lain on the stretcher and gone to have his head measured for the radiation in agony. By that stage in his illness he was throwing up a lot and was in a lot of pain (which the radiation curtailed). He couldn't in a million years have advocated for himself.

Once my sister and I got our father into palliative care--we need FAR more of these units, as only 5% of terminally ill people end up with a bed in such a facility--everything changed. He/we were in heaven. Their sole goal was to keep our father comfortable, and for the last two weeks of his life he received top quality care.

Our hospitals are becoming Third-world calibre. When my family and I lived in Central America and our three-year-old had a reaction to penicillin, she spent the night in the hospital. I stayed with her. Families brought food to their family members and their own blankets and sheets. They went and got the nurses when their family member needed something. That's where we are.

If you want your loved ones to have basic care when in the hospital, you'd better arrange for someone to be with them, to be monitoring the health care very carefully. You'd also better be prepared to "be a Brunhilda," to scream bloody murder if things aren't going the way they should. Eight years ago the system was in disarray and almost utterly dysfunctional.

I can only imagine what it's like now. Kyrie Eleison. One can only pray to be taken quickly when the Avian Bird Flu arrives in Canada.

Posted by: new kid on the block at April 21, 2006 7:35 AM

Just look at cell phone plans if you want to see what consumersim and choice do for costs.
Why shouldn't health care plans cater to unique individual needs?
It bothers me that I have one choice in my plan.

Posted by: MolarMauler at April 21, 2006 9:48 AM

Steve d says:

"dentists and teachers and car salesmen are not as rare as medical specialists. There are not enough medical specialists to support two systems. It would take years to graduate enough doctors to support two tiered health care.
It goes without saying that the added competition would increase the cost of the product. You know, the old supply and demand equation."

Doesn't matter how many different systems there are. The demand is the same. Just because you have more than one public system doesn mean that you have more sick patients. Unless of course you think people are not using the public system due to percieved futility.

In fact, a private system may be able to treat more patients since you don't have some faceless bearuocrat rationing care.

and it goes WITH saying that increased competition will DECREASE cost. You know, that old supply and demand thing for those who understand it.

Posted by: dkjones at April 21, 2006 10:44 AM

The natural end result of socialist hellcare:

"Free" condoms, cocaine, heroin, booze, funerals: Death. +

Vancouver Mayor: Supply Drug Addicts with Heroin, Cocaine

Sullivan, who has been talking to numerous groups and individuals about his desire to see a maintenance program for addicts that would supply them with heroin or cocaine, said he is "very heartened that there is this kind of interest." +

Posted by: maz2 at April 21, 2006 2:44 PM

I've always heard that the natural end result of socialism is the government killing it's citizens.
I just never suspected they'd be so passive-aggressive about it and just let the waiting lists do it.

Posted by: MolarMauler at April 21, 2006 2:57 PM

Suddenly, I don't hear anyone saying

" Tommy would be proud "

Posted by: Scott at April 21, 2006 10:09 PM

Can anyone say two tier health care??

No not with money, but in who you know and how much noise you can make.

She didn't use money to increase her level of care, she went to the legislature, interupted the daily work, was the lead news story..... and now she gets an appointment in the next week. Bumped up as it were.

Two tier at its finest. It woulda been cheaper to fly her to mayo on the prime ministers jet and shut down all treatment so they could concentrate on only her.

And the people fell over each other to try to help a terminal case get proper care... Of course just imagine the uproar if she didn't bother the legislature and even volunteered to use her own money. Mob lynching in the street anyone??

Posted by: Barcs at April 22, 2006 1:44 AM

My 10 year old son has a rare neurologic condition, opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome. It usually occurs in childhood, but the disability lasts a lifetime. My son has been evaluated by a neurologist from the University of Southern Illinois who is the world's expert on that condition. He sees patients from all over the US and other countries as well, including Canada. We've stayed in the local Ronald McDonald House and met several of the parents of children with OMS from Canada. They've all said the same thing. The health care system in Canada provides NO treatment for their sick children. Apparently Canada doesn't consider it cost-effective to treat rare diseases. When they come to Illinois, the parents have to pay the bills entirely out of pocket. Our insurance has paid for my son's treatment and even for the travel costs to Illinois. Without treatment, my boy can't walk or even feed himself. With treatment, he still has problems but he can function.
I hate to think how bad it would be if the US were stuck with the Canadian system and my son was simply abandoned. The Canadians who have come to depend on US healthcare would suffer as well.

Posted by: Mike at April 22, 2006 10:29 AM

I have no doubt that most the horror stories are true. However I was fortunate to have prompt care after my leukemia diagnosis last Oct. I was in the RUH Saskatoon on the 8th of Nov. for chemo and discharged In early Dec. No problem seeing an oncologist then or since. The nursing care was excellent, and when I had an unexpected severe pennicillin reaction after chemo the treatment was prompt and effective. I am nobody special, I'm just me, an ageing farmer with no special connections to anybody influential. Maybe I am just lucky. I have no personal "bone to pick" at all. I know the system needs fixing as I hear of many people lacking diagnostics for potentially very serious conditions. Still I can't complain about my own treatment. By the way, I have no problem with the idea of private health care paid for by govt. insurance based on premiums paid by we citizens. Private clinics run by doctors would probably go a long way towards solving the obvious mess in which the system now finds itself.

Posted by: len pryor at April 23, 2006 3:34 AM

"govt. insurance based on premiums paid by we citizens."

What do you call taxes???

Around 50% of the entire Saskatchewan budget ends up being premiums we pay to the government for insurance that healthcare will be there when we need it....

If you make 30k a year you probably already pay atleast $5000 a year in premiums (not to mention services like dentistry not covered completely by the government).

Another insurance company with the record I have read about recently would be promptly put out of business. If not by the people who buy going elsewhere, then by the governments own regulations on insurance companies.

Posted by: Barcs at April 23, 2006 3:14 PM

Barcs, you have a point there. You can call it taxes or whatever you want. It just seems to me that years ago when we paid an extra health care premium we had a lot more prompt attention to our needs. The only reason I say Govt. ins. in this case is because if they get too caried away with trying to "cheap out" on us we can at least react by voting the buggers out. For the most part I don't think Govt. should be in business at all.

Posted by: len pryor at April 23, 2006 11:34 PM