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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 06 2010 at 4:43pm
Do your research sound ignorant when you believe stuff and have no reason to.


3. Wait times in Canada are horrendous.
True and False again -- it depends on which province you live in, and what's wrong with you. Canada's health care system runs on federal guidelines that ensure uniform standards of care, but each territory and province administers its own program. Some provinces don't plan their facilities well enough; in those, you can have waits. Some do better. As a general rule, the farther north you live, the harder it is to get to care, simply because the doctors and hospitals are concentrated in the south. But that's just as true in any rural county in the U.S.

You can hear the bitching about it no matter where you live, though. The percentage of Canadians who'd consider giving up their beloved system consistently languishes in the single digits. A few years ago, a TV show asked Canadians to name the Greatest Canadian in history; and in a broad national consensus, they gave the honor to Tommy Douglas, the Saskatchewan premier who is considered the father of the country's health care system. (And no, it had nothing to do with the fact that he was also Kiefer Sutherland's grandfather.). In spite of that, though, grousing about health care is still unofficially Canada's third national sport after curling and hockey.

And for the country's newspapers, it's a prime watchdogging opportunity. Any little thing goes sideways at the local hospital, and it's on the front pages the next day. Those kinds of stories sell papers, because everyone is invested in that system and has a personal stake in how well it functions. The American system might benefit from this kind of constant scrutiny, because it's certainly one of the things that keeps the quality high. But it also makes people think it's far worse than it is.

Critics should be reminded that the American system is not exactly instant-on, either. When I lived in California, I had excellent insurance, and got my care through one of the best university-based systems in the nation. Yet I routinely had to wait anywhere from six to twelve weeks to get in to see a specialist. Non-emergency surgical waits could be anywhere from four weeks to four months. After two years in the BC system, I'm finding the experience to be pretty much comparable, and often better. The notable exception is MRIs, which were easy in California, but can take many months to get here. (It's the number one thing people go over the border for.) Other than that, urban Canadians get care about as fast as urban Americans do.

  • We have waiting lists out the ying yang some as much as 2 years down the road.
  • As noted above, any broad statement about Canada's health insurance program is difficult to assess because Canada has a number of different provincial/territorial programs, not one national program. Wait times for medical procedures in particular can vary quite widely across provinces, cities, and individual hospitals, and of course wait times can also vary widely depending upon the type of procedures involved.

    Using Ontario (Canada's most populous province) as an example, we find that provincial wait times measured in mid-2007 ranged from 13 days for angioplasty to 297 days for knee replacements.

    Similar, median wait times in British Columbia (measured for the three months ending in July 2007) ranged from 1 week for cancer services to 17.5 weeks for knee replacements.

    Quote A report published by Health Canada in 2008 included statistics on self-reported wait times for diagnostic services.[50] The median wait time for diagnostic services such as MRI and CAT scans is two weeks with 89.5% waiting less than 3 months.[50][51] The median wait time to see a special physician is a little over four weeks with 86.4% waiting less than 3 months. [50][52] The median wait time for surgery is a little over four weeks with 82.2% waiting less than 3 months. [50][53] In the U.S., patients on Medicaid, the low-income government programs, can wait three months or more to see specialists. Because Medicaid payments are low, some have claimed that some doctors do not want to see Medicaid patients. For example, in Benton Harbor, Michigan, specialists agreed to spend one afternoon every week or two at a Medicaid clinic, which meant that Medicaid patients had to make appointments not at the doctor's office, but at the clinic, where appointments had to be booked months in advance.[54] A 2009 study found that on average the wait in the United States to see a medical specialist is 20.5 days.[55]

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