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October 10, 2009

Canada Health Care - Part 5

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. Craig Mouldey wrote the following unedited letter:

Hi Tim,

In your recent "Ask the Builder" issue, you asked Canadian subscribers to comment on our health care. I avoid hospitals and doctors like the plague, but here is what I know first hand, second hand and from the news.

Two elections past, the current health care system was an election issue because of the long wait times to get needed treatment. Of course the socialist/liberal sort insist this "universal health care" must be protected at all costs. They even make a big issue about people who can actually afford more private care going to private clinics and hospitals. They view this as a threat to Canada's health care. That is utter nonsense.

If somebody can afford to go to a private hospital or clinic, then that gets them out of the very long line-ups and makes treatment for those who cannot afford to pay out of pocket that much quicker. I had a hernia just above my belly button for years and back in the 1990's decided it was time to get it fixed. I opted to pay extra and go to Shouldice Clinic, which is private and specialized in just hernia operations. The extra cost to me was more than worth it.

I know that in recent years some things are not covered any more. Ambulance service is extra. In some situations, an over night stay is extra and if food is required, that is extra too. Eye exams are no longer covered. Stuff like that. If anyone needed knee replacement surgery, they have to get in line. I'm sure we are talking months if not longer, and nobody gets to see a specialist unless another doctor has referred the person to them. Obviously the entire system is under financial strain. I think the idea of "free" health care caused a lot of people to rush off to the hospital every time they got a sniffle or bump on their head.

There is a bit of history that could be very important in this hour, and I may never know the answer to this question. My mother was born in 1928, the youngest of 5 children. Just in time for the great depression. My grandfather was just an ordinary working blue collar guy. He worked for a company called Taylor Safes which was eventually taken over by a company called Mosler, so he worked for Mosler-Taylor. Then it was Chubb-Mosler-Taylor.

My grandmother was a stay at home mother. From about the age of 3, my mother became quite ill and was in and out of hospitals all through her childhood and teen years. She had major surgery on her spine. She contacted spinal meningitis at some point and another bone disease called osteomelitis. I remember this flaring up from time to time and causing her great pain.

My point? How did a single wage-earning man in a blue collar job, before medicare, during the great depression, with 5 children manage to have his one child go through all this surgery and hospital care and not go into the ditch financially? Something must have been different about how things were run then but I don't know what it was. It seems to have worked. This is my mother in hospital as a little girl. (Craig included a photo of a child sitting on what appears to be a hospital bed. The smiling child has a plate of food in her lap.)

Universal health care sounds so lovely and "Christian". But it only sounds that way. Socialists use "Christian" terminology to make their aims appeal to the unsuspecting. Having the government run much isn't a good idea in my view. It always means they take more control over our lives and leaves us with fewer and fewer choices and less and less of our hard earned money. I read an article recently that put the blame for high drug prices squarely on the FDA and their meddling. Remove government involvement and prices will go down.

I think you are fighting the right fight Tim. I hope for all of us that you and your countrymen prevail and the country doesn't progress any further down this insane path your leaders are taking you. Meanwhile, I am working on my own government and flapping my gums to others every chance I can. My latest to the government is:When will I be able to stop playing pretend, and really own my home? I pay "property tax". What is this if not rent? If I don't pay it, they eventually come and take away my home. So, how then can it be said that I "own" my house and property?


Tim, I forgot to mention this about our health care. We moved to a much smaller community in early June, to Port Colborne. It has a hospital that had it all: Emergency room, surgery, critical care. You have a heart attack, you go there, minutes away. Recently the Ontario Government has changed things. You can go there if you have a broken bone or need stitches or things like that. If it is something urgent and serious, you have to go to a hospital in Welland or St. Catherines. So, basically this hospital has become an over sized walk in clinic!


On October 16, 2009 I received an email from Bud O'Reilly, a retired news reporter. I've not confirmed the following, but have every reason to suspect this is 100 percent true:

"Your #5 e-mail response from a Canadian regarding Canada's universal health care mentioned the Port Colborne Ontario hospital cutting back on services. I am familiar with the hospitals in that area. What your corespondent has noticed is a streamlining of the Ontario hospital system, eliminating duplication of services in the region. I point out that the Welland hospital is only about eight miles away from Port Colborne and going there for relatively serious surgery is not a hardship. The Ontario Government has also established "Trauma Centres", hospitals that are especially equipped for emergency treatments. Both changes are what makes the system financially viable for taxpayers."

Posted by Tim Carter at October 10, 2009 7:27 AM

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