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We Canadians would NEVER accept an American style insurance run and insurance rationed health care system. In Canada, physicians make medical decisions in conjunction their patients and the government oays for anything that the physician recommends. In the United States, there is an insurance company bureaucrat between physicians and patients and the insurance company bureaucrat often denies and rations the health care of the patient, regardless fo what the physician recommends.

When I was 16, I had a football injury which tore open a block of blood vessels in my left kidney (it actually was had been an AV malformation it ruptured . After seeing my own physician that same afternoon, he referred me to a specialist in the city, an hour's drive away. I saw the specialist the very next day and he hospitalized me and did tests that day and the next and the morning of the third day in hospital, the specialist/surgeon, removed the upper pole of my left kidney, and I regained my life. The out of pocket cost to me and my family (other than gas for the trip to the city)? ZERO.

When my mother was 72, one friday night, she started having chest pain, radiating down the left arm. I drove her to hospital and she was admitted immediately, and the on duty cardiologist informed me that she had not had a heart attack, but might within minutes to hours, and, if I agreed, they would put in a call for a cardiac surgeon to do an immediate bypass. Of course I agreed, and 90 minutes later, 2 hours after being admitted, she was on the operating table having bypass surgery by argably the best cardiac surgeon east of Montreal. The cost for all of that to my mother and me? ZERO, other than a dollar each day for parking, each day I went there, $24 in all.

My mother, at age 76, had a stroke, and was admitted immediately and had an immediate MRI, and began aggressive treatment and rehab, staying in hospital for 21 days. The cost for treatment and rehab (ongoing after she was released from hospital)? ZERO.

My mother, at age 79, had a stroke, and was admitted immediately and had an immediate MRI, and AGAIN aggressive treatment and rehab, staying in hospital for 18 days. The cost for treatment and rehab (ongoing after she was released from hospital)? ZERO. [my mother died at age 82 (10 years a month and a week after the bypass] of congestive heart failure, but she had been evaluated as to whether there was anything which could lengthen her life even further while giving her a better quality of life. Though thoroughly investigated through a week of tests, it turned out that there was nothing they could do, but they took the time and resources to try..... again, no out of pocket cost

In 2006, when I was 55, I was found by my GP to have a lesion on my larynx (left vocal cord actually), I was seen by an otolaryngologist/surgeon within a week and he performed surgery to excise and surgically reconstruct the vocal cord 3 days later. He also scheduled me for voice rehab, which ended up haveing every two weeks for 8 months. The out of pocket cost for all that (including the rehab) ZERO. [Pathology proved that the lesion was benign]

In 2008, when I was 57, I had a check up with the otolaryngologist/surgeon who had done the pervious surgery and it was found that, in the interim, a lesion had developed on my larynx (just above the right vocal cord), I was scheduled for, and had surgery 5 days later where he, again, excised the lesion and surgically reconstruct the right vocal cord this time, and again scheduled me for voice rehab, which I, again, ended up having every two weeks for 8 months. The out of pocket cost for all that (a second time, including the rehab) ZERO. [Pathology again proved that the lesion was benign]

In all of these cases, our out of pocket costs in Canada were ZERO. I shudder to think how much it would have been in the United States for medical costs, insurance, deductables, and copays (none of which exist in Canada). I know from the experience of an American cousin, that a liver transplant in the US and appropriate follow up costs $450,000. Research shows that the same surgery and follow up would cost an American $160,000 in Canada, and the same surgery and follow up cost a Canadian ZERO.

Give me Canadian health care anytime. I want (and 95% of Canadians want) no part of an American style care system.
John Murphy Dartmouth NS B3A 4R1

Shocking to me that 45,000 Americans every year die - Not including the suicides and the untold suffering caused by the Insurance whores and their bought politicians - by being denied care. If someone dies because they are denied care ( For money????) that is murder in every other industrialized nation but somehow acceptable in the US?

The insurance companies make money hand over fist in every country but are allowed to pillage and murder our American neighbors and friends for profit and bonuses and the US politicians and what passes for a press in the US do nothing but lie, talk and grease the skids for what is MURDER everywhere else in the world.

Shocking and sad - long past due that Americans start cracking heads and start bringing out their dead - on signs, posters etc...

Alec Auchstaetter
Edmonton AB t5k 2a1

I think this picture says loads about how Canadians feel about our Healthcare.

Taken and put up online after the US won the first US vs Canada Olympic hockey game. I would imagine more then a few Canucks like myself had this loaded up on their internet machines, just in case we maybe perhaps lost the Gold medal game - We didn't WHooo Hooo.

But I believe that this is a prime example of what Canadian style trash talk would have looked like if we had lost the Gold medal game.

I think this picture says a lot about us ( She's soooooo happy it kills me...Ha ) and what we are proud about as Canadians and what we think you should be ashamed about as Americans.

At least we have health care
Alec Auchstaetter

There are definitely areas we need improvement on, especially in more rural areas, but I wouldn't trade it for any other system.
I have worked as a Special-Care Aide, Paramedic Basic and have a very large family and group of friends - but my experience comes mostly from the rural areas I've worked in.
None of my family has ever had to wait for emergency diagnostics or treatment. I have had elder uncles and aunts wait reasonable lengths of time (in comparison to yours assuming you're in the U.S.) for what we call elective surgery - joint replacement, etc, but most of us agree the trade off to waiting in line is better than having to pay large sums of money besides what we already pay in taxes or through insurance thru work to get it elsewhere. If immediate needs can't be met in my area, my province will pay for it to be covered anywere in the world that it can ...... so far, not one of us has left the country for anything but dental and eyeglasses (which are not covered in the basic plan)..... but should be, especially dental.
I can email you a recent case of my brand new nephew's rare, innovative surgery involving extremely complex heart surgery at two weeks old, cases of the elderly we've taken to the city for tests, treatment and brought back within days ....... not names of those of course because of confidentiality but I will forward what I can from my own and family experience if that will help.

Yes, I would appreciate the information. Thanks

Due to the confusion and inconsistencies I have seen (especially lately) concerning the Canadian Healthcare system, I feel I must convey the incidents of the last year with everyone...

My Father was a healthy man. Mid sixties, about 30-40 lbs overweight but in general overall good health. Non-smoker (except the odd stogie), recreational drinker. In December 2008 he went in for his annual physical and was given a clean bill of health. In fact the doctor said he was extremely healthy - everything was good.

Fast forward to February week-end we noticed his eyes and the area around his eyes was turning yellow. The coming Monday my mother took him to the emergency room as it gradually worsened over the next day or so. Dad was taken in immediately - no waiting whatsoever. They quickly determined he had a blockage in his lower intestine that was affecting his liver - he was turning jaundiced and his blood was slowly poisoning him. This quickly turned into a serious situation.

He was immediately given an appointment to see a specialist in London, ON. two days later, the Wednesday. They did a scope and determined that there was a blockage coming from the head of his Pancreas - no need to say anything further - we all knew what that meant...

The initial diagnosis was pancreatic cancer - he had approx. 2-3 months to live. Needless to say, this was quite a shock considering the results from his recent physical and just the fact that he has always been very healthy. The cancer was likely going to spread to his liver, lungs, etc and the prognosis was terminal. The doctors stressed this was just an initial diagnosis and more tests would be done to see if anything could be done, i.e. surgery, chemo, etc.

This is when a certain Surgeon entered our lives, and literally saved my father's life. He decided that there was only one option: a surgery called the "Whipple Procedure". Basically this is one of the harshest surgery's, save for an organ transplant, the body can handle. Per Wikipedia:

"It consists of removal of the distal half of the stomach (antrectomy), the gall bladder (cholecystectomy), the distal portion of the common bile duct (choledochectomy), the head of the pancreas, duodenum, proximal jejunum, and regional lymph nodes. Reconstruction consists of attaching the pancreas to the jejunum (pancreaticojejunostomy) and attaching the common bile duct to the jejunum (choledochojejunostomy) to allow digestive juices and bile to flow into the gastrointestinal tract and attaching the stomach to the jejunum (gastrojejunostomy) to allow food to pass through."

Yeah - we couldn't believe an operation like this was possible is an 8.5 hour surgery.

Fast forward 3 weeks. This was the earliest they could do the operation due to the fact that dad needed to prepare his body, get stronger and flush a lot of toxins out. They took him at the first available spot they could. He went in on a Monday morning, 7:00am with the operation scheduled to begin at 8:00am. The surgeon came to us before he began and stated the following, "this is an 8-9 hour surgery. If you see me before 6 hours is up, it's bad news. Either he expired or we found too much cancer and it would not be feasible to operate". I was astounded by honesty and compassion. He stated he HAD to tell us this so we knew all the risks associated. This was an amazing man and I felt lucky dad had him doing the operation.

After staring at the clock for 6 hours, you could feel the anxiety lift as the clock slowly turned past 2:00pm then 3:00pm and then finally around 5:00pm, the good surgeon came out and gave us the good news. He got all the cancer and the operation was a complete success. Unbelievably, we were able to see dad that night around 8:00pm when he woke up - in surprisingly good spirits. We were not out of the woods yet though...

He had numerous internal stitches that needed to heal. He had an incision from his hips to his chest that took 52 staples to close. The next few days were critical. He was put in a semi-private room called a step down room. This is where they send patients who just went thru something as major as this procedure, with the purpose of 'round the clock' observation. For the first 2 days, the nurses NEVER left his side. He constantly had a nurse at his bedside, taking care of his every need and whim. That blew me away. The care and concern these nurses showed was unbelievable. I consider them to be lifesavers as well. Also the good surgeon checked on him many times per day and even the day of the operation he came and checked on him at 10:30pm that night. Think about that - he had to be up before 6:00am to get ready - worked on dad from 8:00am to 4:30pm and still was at the hospital at 10:30pm to check on my dad. This was an amazing man.

We're going on 3 weeks post-op. Dad came home 11 days after the surgery with 15 days being the avg, stay. He is starting to gain weight and his colour has returned. As an atheist, I hate the word, 'miracle' but I have no problem stating that the surgeon and nurse who looked after my dad were and are 'miracle workers'. They can never be compensated or thanked enough for what they did for our family. These are the true heroes in society.

How much did this cost my family? $113.00. And that was to rent a TV for dad's room for a week. That is it. What would this have cost in the US? Being as my parents are of meager means, it was an absolute lifesaver that they did not need to worry about being financially ruined over this. Here's a kicker as well...all the trips my parents and I had to make to go the hospital for appointments, etc. is tax deductible...So we will see most of that TV rental money back anyway. You gotta love it.

In closing this is just one story that illustrates what I believe to be the average experience that us lucky Canadians are privileged enough to enjoy with our Healthcare system. Is it perfect? No, it is not. I would like to see more preventative procedures being free, such as routine eye appointments, but that was just recently taken away by our provincial gov't - I can see that coming back in the future. And yes, before the freepers start to chime in, it isn't technically 'free' as we pay very high taxes, but I'd rather see that money go to healthcare than world domination and endless oil wars.

Canadians are known as passive and very docile and the perception exists that we will just roll over and take whatever is pushed on us. But I know one thing for sure - take away our healthcare system or try to 'americanize' it and you will see blood pouring in the streets. Revolution. This is one issue I believe all Canadians can agree on. It is a fundamental human right to have access to the best healthcare possible - how anyone can see it different than this is mind-boggling.

Sorry for the long post - just want to get this off my chest.

Southern Ontario
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