Post # 1
I get frustrated with wait times and that side of the health system, but it’s the stories like this that make me really sad:
Even with insurance, there’s quite a few companies that exclude the really expensive drugs. Most don’t give 100% coverage either, 80% is a fairly typical number.
Post # 3
@AB Bride: what you say is far too true. People often talk about “free Canadian health care” reality is, we pay for it, and it covers doctors and emergency rooms.
Prescriptions are a huge expense. Even things like birth control are not covered by medical. Some prescriptions are through the roof. When I read that article, it made me sick.
“Don’t make a profit off me and my life,” he said. “That’s not fair.”
Post # 4
I will say, I’m a big fan of our healthcare system in general. I have a chronic illness, and spend *a lot* of time seeing my GP and other specialists. I go for a lot of tests, and have had a few surgeries. I have paid for exactly NONE of that out of pocket. I love and appreciate that, and I’m grateful to have it.
Prescriptions do cost a lot of money though, and there have been times when it’s been hard for me to find the money to cover my costs. Plus, not everything is covered. I would be thrilled if they would add dentists and eye doctors to the coverage, since oral health and eye health are so important to our overall well-being.
That said, at the end of the day, I’m still overwhelmingly grateful to live in a country where at least I can see my doctor, see specialists, have tests, have surgery, and not have to worry about the money directly.
Post # 5
The Canadian system varies province by province and in British Columbia there is a specific government funded plan (Plan F) for people living with Cystic Fibrosis. All their enzymes and related medications are fully covered. In this particular instance it sounds like the drug manufacturer is to blame, not the provincial government. “The provinces, with the exception of Quebec, have banded together to negotiate a lower price, but after a year there’s still no deal with Vertex, the drug maker.” It’s greed on the part of the manufacturer and a desire for high profit that have prevented this man from receiving this medication. The government only has so many tax dollars to spend and must spend them in a way that benefits the most people. Funding a drug that costs $306,000/year per patient just isn’t feasable without increasing taxes, which people would also complain about.
Post # 6
@chercee: I’ve had to pay for diagnostic testing. It wasn’t even covered by my private insurance, although the health spending account for one of my plans did reimburse me for it.
@ju5tdance: I agree that the drug company is partially to blame. Drugs can be expensive though, and the companies shouldn’t have to pay to produce things without at least coming out even. A drug can easily cost someone tens of thousands of dollars a year and the government doesn’t step in to help in many of those instances.
Post # 7
@AB Bride: This story is really heartbreaking to read but I can understand why the government cannot intervene with help.
That is really a significant medical cost for anyone to cover but if the government made the exception they would need to keep on making exceptions. Suddenly a few hundred thousand extra per year turn into demands for millions extra per year – something that all taxpayers need to pay though increased taxes.
It is really sad when you hear about people who cannot get the help they need but I always try to remember all the “free” help that we do get from our healthcare system. I think of what it’d be like living in another country where I would have to avoid going to the hospital because I couldn’t afford the visit or I would need to pay to have a broken bone looked at.
In a perfect world this girl would have her medication handed to her free of charge – it is just too bad that everything has a price tag.
Post # 8
Regardless of where you live or how much your insurance covers, it’s always heartbreaking when you see or hear about people who are unable to get the medications they need.
I’m on military Tri-care, my prescriptions are five dollars a month. Often times when I go to pick up my prescription, I will see people counting out dimes and pennies just so they can afford that month’s medication.
It is definitely the drug companies that are a problem. “Helping” sick people is a very profitable industry and they really have no competition, so it’s very easy to charge outrageous amounts of money.
ETA: I know it’s common knowledge, but a lot of people here in the US don’t go to doctors because they can’t afford it. That means they either get sicker, die, or when they do go, they end up filing for bankruptcy because they can’t afford their medical bills. I suppose it’s a trade off… the ability to see a doctor when you want or need one at the expense of higher prescription costs.
Here, if you can’t afford to see a doctor, you probably can’t afford your prescription either, which just makes the whole problem worse. Sometimes when you do have insurance it’s still bad — My father had a quintuple bypass. He was insured through Veterans Affairs (VA) because he is a Vietnam Veteran, and they refused to pay his medical bills (~250,000 dollars) because he went to the “wrong hospital.”
Post # 9
@AB Bride: Research and development is expensive but Vertex isn’t hurting for profits by any means.
Post # 10
@AB Bride: Was your diagnostic testing for a medical doctor? Or was it for an alternate professional? I have never heard or someone paying for their own medical testing.
In this case I can totally see why the government can’t pay for 300,000 dollars/year worth of drugs for people with CF. There are approx 4,000 people with CF, each with an average 37 year life span. That means for each patient it would cost $11,322,000 over their lifespan. Multiply that by the 4,000 Canadians with CF and it’s 45 billion dollars, just to treat the patients that currently have CF.
It sucks. I totally get that part. It sucks that we have to put a price tag on people’s lives, and I wouldn’t want to be the ethicist who has to help make those decisions. But I get it. Keep in mind this drug will not cure them, but will simply extend their lifespan. Again, it sucks, but money is not an unlimited resource.
At the same time no one wants to pay more taxes (though I personally would be open to it, it if meant more services).
Post # 11
@AB Bride: Really? That’s interesting. I’ve never had to pay for anything: ultrasounds, CTs, blood tests (except that I did have to pay for the celiac test, which was about $60 I think, and I got it back in income tax anyway) and so on. I guess never say never then.
@JessicaJupiter: You said what I was trying to, but better. Our system isn’t perfect, but I do think it’s better than a system where you have to pay for everything out of pocket. I do think medications cost too much, but at least the trips to the doctor & hospital are covered.
Post # 12
I was just reading another article on this topic and they mentioned the family only has to pay about $5770 per month as their insurance is paying 50% and the drug manufacturer is covering 30%. So for a reduced cost to the family of only $70,000/year it doesn’t seem as big as a problem. I am not sure if the issue is as much that they don’t feel they should have to pay or if they cannot find the funding through loans even to cover it…
Post # 13
@andielovesj: I’ve had to pay for cardiac testing ordered by a specialist who was also an MD, as well as the ‘materials’ and not the testing itself for allergy testing done by an allergist/immunologist MD.