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October 9, 2009

Canada Health Care - Part 4

In late September, 2009 I asked my newsletter subscribers that live in Canada to write to me with their positive and negative stories about the Canadian health-care system. Christy Herman wrote the following unedited letter:

Dear Tim,

Even though I live in Greece, and my last 30 years were spent as an Italian Citizen living in Italy. I follow your column. I was born and educated in the US, more precisely, in California and Colorado. I began keeping up with your column and newletters when I needed information that you so kindly provided on how to find the pigments for coloring cement - about a year ago.

Concerning National Health Care, my first reply to anyone who tries to convince me that it will work in the US, is, how long to you wait in the waiting room to see your GP? Can you get an appointment, well, I can't, I just have to walk in, take a number, and wait, and wait, and wait. Which is the same process you have to go through when you go for the visits to specialists as well. I usually have to wait over an hour for any visit to my GP - who of course has to refer me for anything else that I need; god forbid should I forget to ask something and need to go back, my Doctor does not take phone calls....

Granted, in the last 5 years I have seen vast improvements in the system in Italy. But I always say, US citizens would never put up with what Italians do to get their health care. And, forget it if you think you are going to pick who does surgery on you. On a lower level, for everyday health care it works to a level acceptable to Italians , but for more serious things such that you might want to make your own choice, it does not allow for personal choice and the quality is not what you find in private care. period.

And, who decides what treatments you are going to get if you get cancer? It won't be you. When the state takes over, it does just that and you, and everyone else all fall into a big pot and are as one, you all get the same equal treatment. How many Americans will put up with this? Well in Italy now they are promoting INSURANCE, yes, and those who can, take it especially for "catastrophic" health problems, or, with a high deductable and for major problems - this is what I have now.

I still use the normal health care when I am back in Italy, and I am willing to work with the system. However, we now pay a high "ticket"for all our exams such as blood work, so, it is no longer the "free" health care of 10 years ago.

Maybe a form of goverment subsidized care should exist as elective care for lower income people and those who are destitute, how? I have to admit, I can't help there. But, for all of middle America and above, I am fairly certain that one month in Italy on the system there would convince them that it is not for the American public, we just plain have a different mentality, we are, as of yet, not a socialist country. I am not currently following closely what is going on there in the US, I have my hands full here, so , possibly there are proposals that somehow skirt these problems in the systems here.

My husband is English. His is a long and interesting story of working with in the health care system. To give all the details would be a fairly long email. If you are interested, I will give you some prime examples of the pros and cons of the system there, which at a high level, is of very good quality, but how long does it take to get your operation? Could take FOUR might be crippled or dead by then....Again, we as a country of free thinking, free spirited people (at least I think we still are) do we really think we can live with someone telling us how to take care of ourselves? Choice goes out the window with socialized health care.


Posted by Tim Carter at October 9, 2009 2:44 PM

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