TO FutureMrsJason: & SpecialSundae:
The comparisson to Canada is a natural one… primarily because of the proximity of our two countries, and so the issue is fairly well known in regards to some of the significant differences between our two Governmental philosophies (ideals)
I agree tho…
When it comes to Canadian Health Care we are far from ideal… like most things in Canada it comes down to the size of this HUGE Country (aprox the same size as ALL of Europe) and the fact that we have such a scant population (34 Million for Canada, vs say 738 for Europe / 311 for the USA or 65 for France… which size wise would fit into Canada 15x over)
Delivering any sort of services to our population base is a challenge because of how spread out we all are, and of course weather also oftentimes plays a HUGE factor (yes even in health care)
The majority of Canadians (about 75%) of us, live within a 100 miles from the USA. And our country altho seperate is certainly influenced by our BIG Neighbour to the south. With most of us holding a Passport, and travelling there at least once a year for some reason or another (be it business or pleasure)
Canadian Health Care is good to excellent IMO. BUT there can be sometimes a “gap” between local availability and “current need” (knowing that medical needs are not always predictable)… be that in regards to Equipment or Medical Professionals.
To compensate this, Canadians CAN (and many do) choose to travel elsewhere for their medical needs in a more timely fashion.
For the most part, this is done within our own country…
Example, if you need an MRI or a Knee Replacement, and discover by checking on-line that the “wait time” is shorter in the next city (knowing that for most of us our cities are 2 to 8 hours apart) then you may opt to seek care in that location. Healthcare being easily transportable within the same Province… a tad more difficult out of Province (but still do-able)
Depending on the procedure… wait times for these “elective” situations can be short, moderate or extreme depending on demand.
Example… Currently in Ontario the average wait time for a Non-Critical MRI is 86 Days (the Provincial Target is 28 Days or less). In Ottawa (our National Capital) and an area that encompasses aprox 1 Million Residents, and having 3 major Hospitals… the current numbers are a LOW of 69 Days and a HIGH of 130 Days. Meanwhile in Toronto (our Provincial Capital) and aprox 500 Kms (5 Hours away by car), as a much larger city, with an area that encompasses aprox 5.5 Million Residents, and having 10 or so major Hospitals… the current numbers are a LOW of 41 Days and a HIGH of 124 Days.
Part of the difference between these two regions, is Toronto is situated in the most highly populated area of Canada (the Golden Horseshoe that arcs around Lake Ontario). And within that area there are several major cities… all with Hospitals. So places aren’t that far apart. People can find services in a variety of places if need be. Eastern Ontario is less populated, but that also means that there are less Hospitals, and the needs of a wider rural community must me accounted for too… with many of them having to come into Ottawa for more specialized services (not a big need for a layout for an expensive MRI Machine in smaller towns… such items being found in our Bigger Regional Hospitals)
By Contrast the US has a bigger population base, and the cities are also closer together, so more facilities overall. Not to mention that with the “costs” incurred for using an MRI as a US Citizen is either off-set by the Patient’s Insurance or there is a cost personally (the latter means people will “reconsider” their need for an MRI vs just getting it done).
The fact that EVERYONE who needs one here gets one (but may have to wait for it) means that there is NO natural “hestitation” of getting one like there might be in the USA. Our MRI machines are heavily used consequently.
Critical and Urgent needs will always TRUMP elective… so that is why there is a wait list also. If you truly NEED something in Canada you go to the front of the line. Each and EVERY patient goes thru a NEEDS EVALUATION whenever you go and seek Medical Help. Money or social position doesn’t get you a place at the front of the line… just need. (This is what socialized medical assistance is all about… equality for all)
Just as some Canadians elect to visit another Canadian locale for faster service for something that is elective or not deemed urgent. With the US Border so close, others who have the money, and don’t mind spending it just decide to go there
It is complex to describe / explain our Medical System, I hope my explanation gives you the gist of it
Personally, our Medical System has NEVER let me down. And I’ve been utilizing it now since 1966 when it came into being. I find it fair and equitable, and get good care as far as I am concerned… be it for myself, my children or my Elderly Parents. Wait times have never really bothered me, because quite honestly I’ve rarely been in a situation (or have my loved ones) where I’ve had to wait what I would see as an “unreasonable” amount of time.
Hope this helps,