Had a crazy day today. The wife has been having problems with a racing heart and finally decided to see our family doctor. He sent her off for an ECG and it revealed atrial fibrillation. So last night our family doctor flew out to British Columbia to visit a sick relative and while he was there, checked up on his patients and saw that my wife was in fibrillation and called us at home and had us go to the Emergency Dept at the hospital.
So we live in Ontario Canada and we have our Ontario Hospitalization Insurance Plan (OHIP). It was paid for by our employers when we worked as part of our employment. After retiring 10 years ago and continues till we die, our OHIP is covered. Today, we had to stand in line for 1-1/2 hours to see the triage nurse and then because our the wife's issue, we got in to the emergency ward in less than 15 minutes. Hooked up to a monitor and administered drugs within 15 minutes. We stayed for probably 3 hours for observation and then allowed to leave with a couple of prescriptions. At the end of the day, total cost for us was our time only i.e. no out of pocket expense.
There was a note on the wall at admission to the emergency wing stating that people who showed up without OHIP coverage would be required to pay $400 Canadian up front before seeing the triage nurse. I found that interesting. The charges to see a doctor at a walk in clinic are around $54 Canadian and yet many people show up at the Emergency at the hospital for, according to the nurse who helped treat the wife, - stupid things like a pain in the knee that they had for the last 6 months or , my kid has a temperature and I noticed it 2 hours ago and I didn't know if I should give her Tylenol or, even stupid things like " I need a pregnancy test" and they can't turn her away and tell her see could buy one at the dollar store for a buck.
The hospital we attended was in Markham Ontario which is rich with people who immigrated from the Orient. A lot of the people standing in the line opted to wear masks either because they had a temperature and a cough or chose to wear one to protect themselves from someone else possibly spreading a flu like symptom. Pretty scary to have to negotiate through but we do what we must and while we are at the hospital, my phone notifies me that a presumptive case of the corona virus has just been quarantined at another hospital in Scarborough Ontario 20 miles away from Markham. The 50 year old man in quarantine was in Wuhan last week and returned to Canada before getting diagnosed. I just want to reach out and touch somebody !!!! What an idiot. God help us all.
This corona virus can incubate for 2 weeks before symptoms show up so I don't know how we are going to get ahead of this one. Sars and Mers are also corona viruses. I pray to God, they figure out a vaccine for this before it gets out of control
Now a second case of corona virus has shown up in Toronto Ontario. That person was also a passenger on the same plane as the first presumptive case that is now in quarantine at Sunnybrook Hospital in Scarborough Ontario. The second case says she put herself in self quarantine after she got off the plane. A lot of good that would have done.
Now there's talk of removing 1000 Americans from Wuhan. Isn't quarantine mandatory to control the spread of something that cannot be cured at this present point in time? What's wrong with people? I'm at a total loss for words. (and that's saying something for me)
Interesting conversation. 0ne thing, or a couple to add from my perspective, is related to the broader picture. First, not everyone in Canada has been lucky to be blessed with a perpetual full health coverage. Sort of what KB mentioned he has. Canada's middle class virtually disappeared. There is a huge discrepancy between what the narrow top and the wide bottom of society gets. The top has over the top high salaries, pensions, and health insurance. The bottom - yes, they are covered but it's very different. Services are limited, only certain drugs available. The concept of 'free in Canada' is a total misconception. Unfortunately advertised by some during the pre-election in the USA. Someone pays for it here! 0ne way or another. I've been in a constant argument with a friend in Seattle who always says how good it is in Canada, despite he never lived here. He conveniently ignores the simple fact that everything comes at a cost. Here, we pay a lot of taxes, while he pays much less. Beginning with less income tax, by maybe 10%, then sales tax by half. Depending on state, and I have no idea about any particulars but I do know that in New Jersey there is no tax on necessities - like shoes for example. We pay tax on everything here. Two other examples, actually I am sure by popular vote bike related. Alcohol - very expensive in Canada, cheap in the USA. Cigarettes - I don't smoke - very expensive in Canada. Gasoline - maybe half price in the USA? Now, insurance. Especially on the West Coast - very expensive! Close to nothing in the USA. Add high food, housing, goods costs, and very limited available variety of all of the above. And that includes treatment availability in Canada. 0n top of very long waiting lists to see a specialist, shortage of family doctors with many people unable to have one, limited kinds of otherwise very available treatments in the USA, it is not so peachy here. Plus the super low exchange of the Canadian dollar - only the rich can afford certain treatments not offered or offered by government clinics at impossible prices. 0nly the rich and privileged can use private clinics, and often that's the only option. That's why also many of them go South the border for treatment. Back to the argument with my Seattle based friend.. Usually a working person will have some sort of coverage from work. Like here. So that's not a problem (except for the above mentioned limitations). Now, private insurance. Considering all the advantages (lower prices, lower taxes), I think an average American can put aside enough to pay for health insurance and be safe. And afford to buy a be it a small house while doing this. Here, there are many opinionated people who grew up in Canada, inherited from parents or had a chance to buy a house or two 40, 50 years ago which makes the millionaires now. For the rest - it is literally, and I stress this word, literally impossible to ever own a house or even a condo. And the condo thing with Strata rules is another disaster by the way and another topic. Here, in Canada, it is true that everyone gets health average, but it's limited and not free. It comes at a cost of lower and spiraling down quality of life otherwise, especially under the current government.
1982 Kawasaki KZ1300 A4
1981 Kawasaki KZ1300 A3
assembling engine, chassis & electrical from 79 - 89 parts
I agree that the Canadian Health Care system is far from perfect but after all is said and done, it does take care of the population. Could it be better? Hell yes !! Could health care elsewhere in the world be better? Absolutely !! People flock from all parts of the world to Canada for many reasons but ask the majority of them what drove them to leave (uproot) "home" and start a new life in Canada and health care is up near the top of the list.
It's been a very tough week for the wife and I trying to get her atrial fibrillation settled down. We've been back to the emergency center at the hospital 3 times this week. I'm grateful that it's there, open 24 hours a day and staffed with competent people. I didn't have to worry about "paying" for treatment since I've been paying into the health care system for the past 40 years and so has the wife for the past 42 years and that's what insurance is all about. You contribute to a fund along with others and share the expenses equally. It's hard to understand those who don't want to support a similar system fearing that some may join the system and take advantage of it to the point that the system will collapse from over costs and under funding.
I struggle with the fact that the costs (contributions to the insurance plan) are the same across the board irregardless of age, fitness, personal choices like smoking, drinking alcohol, high risk activities but I imagine that aspect would be difficult to police. Anyway, I'll leave it at that for now.
I am enjoying the opportunity to discuss this topic and try and understand how it works around the world. As I mentioned, Canada's system is far from perfect but all things considered, it's not too bad.
I agree - certainly it is in many ways not bad at everything. That would be a gross exaggeration and injustice. But I'd say it 'should be better' rather than 'could be'. And that's where we could elaborate to deep depths and complexities. The state of Canadian health care is not a result of a singular policy or parameter. Just like with the assumption immigrants want to move having the Canadian health care at the top of their list. That kind of touches the ancient belief in some sort of superiority, while there is none. Immigrants are a very diverse group and you can't judge them as one. There are many. Absolutely, for someone coming here from poor underdeveloped countries, a sudden free benefits, housing, health care, and so on, is like heaven. They bring kids and elderly along, and have it all catered to. Then, others come here because purely of political reasons. 0r economical. Take my family. We are all highly educated. 0ne of my family was a pediatrician, another dermatologist and a head of the biggest hospital in my city, the size of Vancouver. My father was a naval engineer and mother masters in orthopedic rehabilitation. They came to Canada because of very unstable situation in Poland, and martial law. It was complicated, but eventually they were joined together. So, it was politics and economics. But hell, we had good health care in Poland at the time, and my whole family had status. Another example, and I know this group quite well. The Filipinos. 0penly, they come here to work, sand money back home, and if they have enough - go back home to the Philippines! Chinese - they like business in Canada because it's easy for them, but they also like living in China. And the group coming from a variety of already developed, especially European, countries? They come with mney, pensions in pounds and Euros, which translate nicely into the Canadian dollar. They don't need to work much, just find cheaper rural properties and love Canada. But immigration because of the Canadian health care? That's mostly people who had not much or nothing where they were. Pretty much anything would be better here for them.
Anyway, I'm just saying it it a complex issue with many superficially unrelated angles. I'm also saying that if the Canadian government, especially the recent and current liberal, was spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the Canadians and the Canadian heath care, for example, instead of literally billions on saving the world, everything here would be not just, but so much better. Saying it's not bad does not improve things, but rather indicate conformity and willingness to passively take what one can and just keep things as they are. Because it's safe. But not for everyone. And the recent dozens of millions of taxpayers money given by the liberals to Master Card and Lablaws, private corporations, to stimulate their business? And they are not the first? That's just crosses the line in more than one way.
To wind it up, I have my second surgery tomorrow morning so I better take care of organizing things here. Third degree burns to your leg are no fun, so stay away from the hot exhaust pipes if you can.
1982 Kawasaki KZ1300 A4
1981 Kawasaki KZ1300 A3
assembling engine, chassis & electrical from 79 - 89 parts