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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yesterday I Used The Canadian Health Care System and I Still Have All My Body Parts

Attention Americans: I have officially used The Canadian Health Care System for the first time and I am still alive.

Just thought I'd mention that for those who have heard the horror stories - you know ones about the woman who had an infected toenail and died waiting to be seen by a physician.

Whatever. Like things like that never happen in the States. Really. Talk to some ER nurses if you want horror stories.

The truth is that the government health care system in Canada works very well. Everyone gets a primary care physician, to whom you do not have to promise your first born in order to get an appointment with.

You also have the option of clinics - one on almost every block here in the city. Why is this important? Have you ever tried to get an appointment with your PCP in the states for those minor issues, you know MINOR like an excruciatingly painful urinary tract infection or a migraine that keeps you in bed for two days?

See, once upon a time in the US your PCP (who would know you very well - because he/she would not have been forced to take on an enormous patient load just to cover his/her student loans because the insurance company will only reimburse them 50% of their usual fees) would trust that you have the good sense to know whether or not you have a UTI or a migraine and he/she might just send a prescription to your pharmacy but now that everyone has decided to sue the doctors and hospitals and everyone else they can sue, PCP's can't do that, because of litigation you see, so you need an appointment.

Have you ever tried to get a spur of the moment appointment with your PCP? Yeah. Good luck with that. So in Canada there are clinics for all those things you just want fixed. Fast. Clinics keep people out of the emergency rooms so that they can be used for - well, emergencies.

Things for me went very smoothly, no long waits, no waiting in line in the cold, no begging, no rations on bandages, thermometers, etc. No rooms filled with sick infected people. Not once did I ask for please just a little more sir. The only difference I can see, which is no big deal, is that gynecologists don't do well visits. They are truly specialists because here there are enough PCP to take care of the everyday stuff so that specialists can really be specialists. So your PCP does your pap.

But remember, this health care system is very different from the ones that are proposed in the US. The US is not really proposing a government health system, but a government subsidized health care program.

You see, in Canada, insurance companies are not involved - except for prescription coverage. And as far as I'm concerned, after dealing with insurance companies personally and in HR, a health care system run by insurance companies and subsidized by the government means whenever you need health coverage you are going to have to serve two masters - yes, those of you who don't like The Man - that means you will have 2 Men.

Hence, good luck with that toenail problem.

But anyway I just wanted to report in - a real person from the US (one who used to have top of the line health insurance) who used the system here in Canada and well, here I am. Alive and blogging.


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