Better health care in Canada than in America

I’m a Canadian, in Canada. Jack, my cousin in NC, asked me about health care in Canada and if a universal plan was do-able in the States. I said, “No”. I told him, 8 years ago, that the insurance companies would do EVERYTHING to stop it and they have. I told Jack that our system was far from ideal. Drugs, eye care and other services, like physio, were generally not included. However, the BIG health challenges, like cancer and heart disease, were covered well. It is a bit of patchwork quilt. However, there is no doubt that average folks were better cared for in Canada.

I have struggled to understand the American system. In 1983, my mother had a heart attack and required a triple bypass. At the reunion of her high school class in 1988, in Cleveland, she was sitting with an old friend. When mom told her about her health issues her friend said, “I have needed bypass surgery for the last 8 months, but my HMO won’t cover it.” These were both surgical nurses. My mom instantly realized that her old friend was telling her that she would likely be dead in six months. My mom’s reconstructed heart sank and I’m sure she was thankful that she was now living in Canada. My mom lived 14 more years.
Let’s be clear, there is little doubt that the wealthiest Americans have healthcare plans that put what I have to shame. However, what I have – the main provincial plan and a modest extended family plan through my wife’s work (for about $230/month) – would surpass what 80% of Americans have. I am now 61, retired and still well covered. My cousin, Jack is 75 and the last I heard he was still working.
The United States is the only first world country that does not have a comprehensive, universal health care plan. Yet, more is spent per capita on health care there than anywhere in the world. Clearly, something is amiss.


It is a sad indictment of America. My nephew, now 2, required 3 major heart surgeries in his first 5 months. His care, thank God, was covered by the Ontario health plan. If they were in the States his family would be scrambling and asking all of his aunts and uncles to mortgage their houses to help pay for his care – estimated at about $2 million. Maybe, YOU are in great health, but what would say to your sister IF she said, “Can you give me $30000 for your nephew’s care?” I am forever grateful for the public plan that saved my nephew’s life. If, as you contend, a shared cost system leads to more obesity and chronic ailments, then why do Canadians enjoy better health and live longer than Americans? Could it be that we have better preventative plans?


Every first world country with comprehensive health care plans have healthier and more fit communities. Childhood obesity rates in Canada are half of that in the States. That is because our public health programs know that the cost of addressing these issues with our youth are a fraction of the cost of dealing with them down the line. I agree, people need to be more responsible. However, it starts with education and ensuring that our children are raised to value good nutrition. Turn on the TV today and you will see nothing but a stream of ads promoting food products that are a one-way ticket to health issues. Children are bombarded with catchy ads for junk cereals and convenient, highly processed, snacks. And, the industries that produce this slow acting poisons, do so with the blessings of the government agencies. In some European countries the producers of junk cereal are not permitted to advertise on television. Some would call it a “nanny state”. However, if we are to educate children to make good food choices we need to ensure they have the best information required to make an informed choices. Overwhelming them with ads for junk cereals only serves to undermine the goals of a government healthcare system committed to lowering the shared costs.


Boy, you’re either naive or heartless. I had an emergency appendectomy when I was a healthy 35, as humanly possible, could run 10 miles, not over weight, etc. Cost: $10K with 80 percent picked up by my employer sponsored insurance. Twenty years later, a small spot of cancer appeared on my yearly mammogram. Again, I had employer sponsored insurance.

Today, I do not have employer sponsored health insurance, so I went to the ACA exchange. I’ve got a $3500 deductible with maximum out of pocket of $10,000, and I have those pesky pre-existing conditions.

Good choices and healthy living do a lot, but none of us, not even you, can control some aspects of ill health. To me, your attitude is part of the problem.


I bought private health care insurance for years pre-ACA. This will be a return to high premiums, high deductibles and very limited coverage. This will be access to health care only if you can afford it. It is all good and well for the Republican members of congress, because we, the tax payers, pay for their insurance. I bet they never lost sleep at night wondering how to pay out of pocket for simple things like getting your child treated for asthma, in addition to paying for your high monthly premium, because you hadn’t met the $10,000 family deductible yet, and forgoing the colonoscopy that you knew you should have, but couldn’t cover because you were paying out of pocket for your children’s health care.


I feel sorry for Americans. The basic care I receive here in Ontario is better than most people get with insurance companies and once I get sick I still don’t have to worry about losing my plan. What Obama had the courage to do was to put forward a public health care plan that doesn’t even touch what I have. I knew, when he endeavored to do so 8 years ago the GOP and insurance companies would do EVERYTHING they could to vilify it and kill it. When you can afford $1000/month premiums for a comprehensive family plan you have nothing to worry. That is until you get sick. Then, the insurance company will shut you down. While the Canadian system is far from perfect over 95% of Canadians would not have a fear if they got cancer or needed bypass surgery. People rail about “entitlements” and how to pay for what the government has already committed to. We have the same concerns here in Canada. However, even the most conservative voices in Canada do not talk about scrapping our public health care system. We seem to have learned how to do more with less. Our health care costs are less per capita and we live longer and healthier lives. As or your challenges, I hope that the government understands that if people are worrying continuously about paying for health care they will be a more stressed out and unproductive workforce. There is a saying, “They know the cost of everything, but the value of nothing'” . That, sadly, is the GOP. My heart goes out to you, buddy.


It’s not just the poor. I’ve retired early with substantial savings. My wife, still working, has amassed a very healthy retirement nest egg, too. But that does us no good if insurers can go back to denying us coverage, or excluding wide swaths of care, because of our pre-existing conditions. Without medical insurance, all that we’ve worked for, throughout our decades of contributing to this economy and paying our taxes, could be wiped out, leaving us destitute and unable to afford the medical care we need to stay alive.

Prior to the ACA, when I tried to purchase health insurance privately, I was told by United Healthcare that the only way they would provide me a policy, with my pre-existing back problems, would be to exclude all care related to the spine. I asked (paraphrasing here, since it’s been quite a while) ‘so if I’m in an automobile accident in which I have a spinal injury that leaves me paralyzed, your company will pay nothing towards my medical expenses?’ The representative said, yes, that was true.


This is really frightening. Charge older people – many on fixed incomes, in the years of greatest medical costs – 3 times the insurance rate for younger ones? What sense does that make except to ensure older people suffer? Re continuous care younger people also are prone to risk having no insurance if financially strapped, so they may try to manage diabetes or heart issues on their own for a while. So then they can’t get anything? And no one knows when a catastrophic injury or illness may befall or a child born with some expensive medical problem. So (1) coverage has to be affordable and (2) there’s just no way around eliminating the pre-existing condition claus. That is, unless you’re either deeply cruel of heart or have the imagination of a gnat. So where does that lead? The ACA! It’s really disheartening reading these stories about people who opposed evil communist “Obamacare” until they got cancer or had a heart attack and suddenly faced huge bills they couldn’t possibly pay without it. Does it really take a personal crisis to open people’s eyes? Surely, as a nation and as humanity, we can do better than that!


Many people think that Trump will increase coverage and lower costs. He and Republicans will never support universal coverage and single payer which is the only way to achieve this. Wait until they discover that their coverage will cost more and won’t cover them when they are sick or will drop them quickly once they have a serious diagnosis. I had one of those policies years ago and they dropped us as soon as my daughter was diagnosed with asthma.


Healthy folks don’t need insurance, only ill folks do. Unfortunately, healthy folks turn into ill folks when they get older. Fact is, everyone sees the doctor, so we don’t need for-profit insurance which only works for relatively rare events like fire or theft. We just need a single payer system paid for by federal income taxes. No one need purchase health insurance ever again. No more profits paying for dividends, high executive salaries and stock options, or lobbyists. Our current system is definitely corrupt.


Cobra for us was 1800 a month for great coverage. Got charged $250 copay for a 450k liver transplant. Now who can save 450k in a hsa account, guess who trump and his cabinet. We need single payer with a tax everyone pays from cradle to grave. Anything else is stupid.


One of the reasons Medicare pays out a lot in benefits is that many people don’t see doctors for years before they reach age 65. When they become eligible for Medicare there are previously unaddressed conditions and other problems for which medical care is finally provided.

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connie dello buono

Health educator, author and enterpreneur motherhealth@gmail.com or conniedbuono@gmail.com ; cell 408-854-1883 Helping families in the bay area by providing compassionate and live-in caregivers for homebound bay area seniors. Blogs at www.clubalthea.com Currently writing a self help and self cure ebook to help transform others in their journey to wellness, Healing within, transform inside and out. This is a compilation of topics Connie answered at quora.com and posts in this site.

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