Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Can you righfully criticize another countries health care system?

I can!


Because I have lived in two countries that have two totally different health care systems!

Which one do I prefer?

Where we have now lived for 4 years, 11 months and 1 day


Our home and native land, where we were born and raised

We work for a Canadian company and we have one of the best health care programs in the US. Well, that's what we are told!

When we arrived we were a little over five months pregnant. Let me tell you...a little stressful changing doctors as well as systems!

We would pay out so much money each paycheck (on top of the insurance payments) to go towards the hospital bills; a lot like a layaway plan or one might say, just like TAXES!

Anyway, what was great was that I went to the doctors office, I had three doctors looking after me. It was for sure that I would have one of MY doctors, that I had been seeing, delivering my baby.

What was also great was everything was done in that one office. Blood tests, in one room, ultrasound in another. I remember, a week before Geordie was born asking the doctor if he was in the right position. She looked at me and said, "let's go check!". To the ultrasound room we went (ten steps away...tops!).

Since then for the most part things have been okay. We were having some problems with bills being paid from the provider but that was due to Callum's HR department not knowing how to do their job.

Then, back in the spring, this happened?!?

Do you know how much this cost us?!?!


yes, $500.00

In Canada, we would have left the hospital and never had to deal with it again! Here, we have to come up with $400 (we had already paid the $100 co-pay) right now to pay it!
As we're trying to get the hell out of dodge (ie. sell the house, leave this country owing nothing as well as money to leave it with)...$400 is quite a sum! Well, really, it's quite a bit at any time!

Here's the thing...the whole ER experience was just as long as it would have been in Canada, possibly a bit longer because we had to deal with the whole money thing.

That blows that whole 'you wait forever with universal health care'!

When going to the doctor, you also wait just as long here in the States as you do in Canada.

Yes, there are waiting lists in Canada for various tests and operations but there are also openings left for emergency cases.

Here, in the US, money is taken out of our paycheck by Callum's employer and goes to the insurance company. The insurance company then only pays for a percentage of the bills, we have to pay the rest. I'm not even going to go into the fine print of things...I have heard people in the medical field have problems understanding the system. Now, the 'rest' that we pay, only is so much per year. It's something like after $2000 the insurance company steps in and takes over 100% of the bill.

In Canada, taxes are taken from your paycheck. You do not have to 'top off' any medical bills after that.

What I think people do not understand is that in this country you are paying out, just as much (sometimes I think more) as what Canadians do with Universal Health Care. Difference being... everyone has health care in Canada! AND you don't have surprise bills popping up!

So, I do believe in Universal Health Care?!? Yes, maybe for the most part because that's what I grew up with but it's also because I think it makes sense!

With that being said, I do think that there are some things that Canada can do to make it better. I'm all for a two tier system (basic health care for all, and a private sector for those who want to pay more). I also like the idea of the co-pay. Paying $5 dollars when you go to the doctor is not much to ask. Maybe $25 when you go to the ER. Might make people think about if they really have to go!

Sorry, I am going to get a little hypocritical here as I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state! But one thing that I really do not understand, specifically down here in south (a.k.a. The Bible Belt) where they are all wild about WWJD and they seem to be the most against Universal Health Care!

Seriously...What Would Jesus Do?!?

I think that Jesus would be all for Universal Health Care...don't you?



chelle said...

Singing to the Choir Sister! Can I get Amen!


I found the same to be true when we were down there. Wait times and all that jazz was still very much present (aren't those the reason people in Canada think they was private healthcare). Only the rich have decent healthcare in the US. Our neighbor's daughter BROKE HER ARM and they had to wait till payday to take her to get a cast! EVIL! WWJD INDEED!

My favourite was being CHARGED to sit and wait while I miscarried ... no medical intervention, but I did use the sheets ... grrrr!

A Buns Life said...

I'm all for it too...as a tier system. My concern here is that we will find a way to mess it up. We won't take your lead and do it they way that you all have done, or they way that other countries have found that works, and it will be a royal clustur feck. 'Cause THAT is what we do best. Feck things up.

Mandy said...

Yeah. Our system ain't perfect by a long stretch, but hell, I would never want to rely on an HMO and the American system. Not in a million years.

Chantal said...

I have never lived in the US and I have heard nightmare stories of women in labour and then interventions happen and the bill just keeps going up and up. It is scary. When I had M, it was an emergency C and we had left my wallet at home (we were planning a home birth). With all the business of bringing him home we forgot to call in our Health Card number. A few weeks later I got a bill for $26000. I almost fainted. We called the hospital and they took down my health card number and that was that, it was taken care of. Phew!

Anonymous said...

Lawd, don't get me started.

Yeah, so I represent the millions of people in the U.S. without "good" insurance. Our health insurance plan is minimal, and so our pregnancy experience thus far has been different from yours: I have gone to four various locations for appointments, lab work, and ultrasounds. Our plan covers one ultrasound, but my doctor ordered 3 (so far), so we've had to pay the others (which are $560 each). Our doctor's fee is about $1200 and that DOES NOT include the hospital's delivery fees and room cost ($500 per night), not to mention the cost if I need a C-section! It's so crazy.

Then the other kicker, is the way you are treated when you don't have "good" insurance. The nurse asked my husband with a condescending look "Oh ... don't you have a job?" Yes, you ignorant American, we are professional musicians who between us have 8 university degrees, four orchestral jobs, and three university teaching positions. We are not "unemployed" ... we just don't happen to work for someone who offers a decent health plan.

In Canada, like my mom says, it might not be the very best or fastest care, but everyone is treated the same way.

And now I must get back to my kegel exercises so I can avoid the C-section I cannot afford to have.


Lost in Transition said...

I thought my eyes were open before, but now that I work in the healthcare world here in the U.S. I am disturbed by the things I see and hear.

The clinic I work at will at least take lower income patients, ie: they have State insurance coverage which doesn't happen everywhere. BUT, they have to be pregnant in order to be seen. Otherwise they have to head to planned parenthood. THEN, they have their babies, Pediatrics won't accept low income patients so they have to go somewhere else. I hate having to turn people away, it kills me, I believe everyone has the right to health care, without limits. It breaks my heart.

We have actually thought about moving to the UK where they have better healthcare than Canada even. But alas, home is where my heart and family are. Just have to hope that one of these days the Governments will get it right.

Helen E.M. Wright said...

Here's what an old school chum, who is a nurse had to say...

Having lived and worked in both, it is nice to be back living and working in Canada. Just a little stat.....the average American pays over 7000 per year for health related costs, while Canada spends 3100 per person. According to the WHO, Canada places 18th for health care and the USA places 35th. Makes you wonder, eh? I can offer so many horror... Read More stories about insurance companies in the USA....so nice to be back home, where we are not perfect, but we also don't have our heads in the sand or up our own asses.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

I think Jesus would be washing your feet right now for making so much sense. ;-)

Kristin said...

Our portion of our health insurance is $1,200 a month.

Which cuts into Jesus money, so I think he'd be all for universal health care reform.

xup said...

If we really wanted to hang our heads in shame we could look at some of the European country's health care systems. We, in Canada are under the delusion that we have it so good, but, there are others who have it so much better for far, far less money. We keep sinking billions into a system that keeps getting worse. There's obviously a problem somewhere. We don't even really have universal health care anymore. When 30% of a population doesn't even have a family doctor???

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

This is so well said and echoes what all Canadians I talk to say. It just makes sense.