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Is The U.s. Superior In Healthcare Too ?


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First off, I'd like to make it clear that I think the Canadian healthcare system is in drastic need of an overhaul. In my opinion, there are inconsistent levels of service across Canada and even within a province, or in my own city of Toronto.

There's no clear and focussed vision for healthcare in Canada. Instead, we have politicians jumping in front of cameras when there's an emergency to dole out money and words of thanks to our healthcare workers.

In the interim between crises, who knows what goes on ?

We know that costs are increasing, and that some of this effect is due to our aging population. But some of the increase must be due to the costs of new services such as sex clinics, chiropractors etc.

The people, ultimately, are responsible, though. If no one pays attention to what is happening, then we have no one to blame but ourselves for mismanagement. The 2000 election issue was supposed to be about the healthcare debate, but it became a catch-phrase competition - "two-tier" vs "no two tier" without substantive discussion of the challenges we face.

IMO, Jean Chretien bet on the complacency of the Canadian people and won.

Now, to the facts Batman....

I stated these facts in another thread and I think they warrant a thread of their own.

Alberta healthcare vs. US healthcare

The 2003 Alberta budget spends about 7.35 billion out of 20.8 billion on healthcare or 35.34%.

Alberta Budget

Given that the population of Alberta is about 2.9 million based on 2001 figures...

This works out to $2450 a person for universal healthcare.

Compare this to the current system in the US...

15-16% of the population is uninsured. 30-32% is under-insured. This gives coverage to about half of the US population.

UMass Centre for Health Policy Report

The cost ?

Based on US population figures.

1.3 trillion dollars for healthcare to support a population of approximately 281 million.

The cost per capita for US healthcare is approximately

$4620 US dollars.

The cost per capital for Alberta healthcare is approximately

$2450 CDN dollars.

When you convert for the exchange rate, this means that the Alberta (Canadian) system covers twice the people at half the cost.

What do you think ?

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In my opinion, there are inconsistent levels of service across Canada and even within a province, or in my own city of Toronto.

There's no clear and focussed vision for healthcare in Canada.

This is very true, and why some right wing fanatics will call for a two-teir system, rather than just fixing the existing one. If it don't work, replace it.

The problem is that healthcare is a provincial mandate, and some provinces just don't have the tax base to pay for the same type of service that other provinces do. Perhaps healthcare should be provided by the federal government.

Or here's an idea: controlled provincially, funded federally. Best of both worlds.

The cost per capita for US healthcare is approximately

$4620 US dollars.

The cost per capital for Alberta healthcare is approximately

$2450 CDN dollars.

When you convert for the exchange rate, this means that the Alberta (Canadian) system covers twice the people at half the cost.

Interesting conclusion, if you did the math right. It would directly oppose statements by others on this very forum... And would prove conclusively that we DO, in fact have the better system.

There are problems, yes. But are they so bad as to completely abandon the idea? (re: my views on American space program)

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The immediate question these two figures (4620. v. 2450) raise in my mind is what is the quality delivered at each expense level? Without information on the quality of service delivered, the figures are meaningless to me.

Due to a change in employment, most of last year I was among the statistics for uninsured Americans - not a very nice place to be. As luck would have it, after years of good health, I have spent much of the last three months in and out of hospitals - my timing has always been superb!

In no respect was my medical treatment different than that received by those with the most comprehensive insurance coverage. While the Hospital Front Office was aware that I was uninsured, nothing in my medical charts reflected this status and none of the Staff were aware of this and in response to my questions indicated that payment for services was a "Front Office" matter and had nothing to do with delivery of medical care.

I dislike posting personal information but I thought an entry on the reality of the American system might add to the discussion - the lack of insurance coverage made no difference in the quality of medical care delivered.

Yes, unlike someone in the Canadian system, I now have many thousands of dollars in medical bills but I have discovered the "Front Office" to be more than cooperative in searching for assistance in payment. Between existing Federal and State programs plus the fact I am a "Disabled Vet", it appears than between 75 and 85 percent of these bills will be covered and while what remains is much larger than a yearly Medical Insurance premium, I am unconvinced that I would have been better off under the Canadian system. With the difference in our income tax rates, I would have paid far far more in taxes over these last years than I will now pay for what remains of these medical expenses.

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In no respect was my medical treatment different than that received by those with the most comprehensive insurance coverage. While the Hospital Front Office was aware that I was uninsured, nothing in my medical charts reflected this status and none of the Staff were aware of this and in response to my questions indicated that payment for services was a "Front Office" matter and had nothing to do with delivery of medical care.

I don't understand what you're saying here.

I don't think anyone would expect a different level of care to be provided to an uninsured person who paid for their treatment.

I dislike posting personal information but I thought an entry on the reality of the American system might add to the discussion - the lack of insurance coverage made no difference in the quality of medical care delivered.

Sometimes personal information or anecdote can be illuminating.

Yes, unlike someone in the Canadian system, I now have many thousands of dollars in medical bills but I have discovered the "Front Office" to be more than cooperative in searching for assistance in payment. Between existing Federal and State programs plus the fact I am a "Disabled Vet", it appears than between 75 and 85 percent of these bills will be covered and while what remains is much larger than a yearly Medical Insurance premium, I am unconvinced that I would have been better off under the Canadian system. With the difference in our income tax rates, I would have paid far far more in taxes over these last years than I will now pay for what remains of these medical expenses.

This is good news. I'm glad that you're healthy.

But the per capital average does show that the average price paid in the US for healthcare is higher.

For some lucky individuals, such as yourself and myself, healthcare isn't needed as much. We should count our blessings.

I'm not using the system to the extent that I have paid for it. But overall, the cost of the US system is twice as much on average.

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The immediate question these two figures (4620. v. 2450) raise in my mind is what is the quality delivered at each expense level? Without information on the quality of service delivered, the figures are meaningless to me.

well fastned, just looking at the nations as an average person would tell you there is no "significent" difference. our average life span has always been near identical, which is very telling considering that would take into account all sorts of cancers and emergency care situations. our productivity while behind the US, is impressive if you consider the higher density and higher population/industrial base of the US. in my opinion there is no reason to believe we are not at least equal, if not a slight bit healthier (violence/obesity) overall.

I think people miss the big picture about health care. its not just about the individual. the quality of health care must be measured on a national scale, because poor health of a subsection of people affects the nation.

take human capital for instance. when a qualified trained machinist gets sick and doesnt have health care, its not just him that suffers. the job that he cannot do, and the skills that he cannot contribute to producing goods and services is also lost. he could be working and earning wages, paying taxes, and balencing out the supply and demand of his product, thus incresing the satisfaction of both the seller and buyer, as each side gains from the exchange.

so in truth, it benefits me to have some of my taxes go to medical services for other canadians. they will continue to work and make more goods nad services. this will give me more opportunities at lower cost. additionally, the social cost of having people who are needlessly less productive out of sickness manifests in increased crime, divorce, and substance abuse. as fastneds example points out, imagine a machinist who provides for his family who gets too sick to work, looses his job and pay. the entire family suffers because of it, and the future cost of divorce of poor kids is spread out over the rest of society.

in terms of total benefit and total cost, Canada is FAR ahead of the US. in terms of actual $money$, per capita average is higher in the US. i read a university of Toronto professor who calculated there were 600,000 jobs in teh private US health care system that were redundent because of competing companies. however, this competition lead to no observable benefits. thus 600,000 people were needless employed processsing insurance information while they could have been dong more productive jobs under a single health care structure.

to use an economics term, health care is a natural monopoly. it can be done better by 1 large organization then by several smaller ones. inefficiency does exist, but the numberour other benefits outweight the loss of efficiency.

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  • 1 month later...
what ever happened to the romanow report?

Reading today's editorial in The Vancouver Sun entitled " Foreign-trained doctors finally get some help" I think the report is being put into action.

It states that ... "Ottawa has just commited money to ease the way into Canadian practice for these physicians" .... i.e. those who presently "work in taxicabs, or in security, or in construction."

God help us all.

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"Ottawa has just commited money to ease the way into Canadian practice for these physicians" .... i.e. those who presently "work in taxicabs, or in security, or in construction."

God help us all.

This reminds me ... wasn't it the NNWN (Nattering Night Watchman Nickstar) who claimed to have a Jamaican doctor's certificate? Or was it an Afghani commercial jet pilot's licence?

Which reminds me ... wasn't there a newspaper story a while back discussing the foreign commercial pilots who are now forced to eke out a living by driving a taxi instead of a 747? Will this group now demand equality with their doctor brethern?

Like I said...God help us, everyone!

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