General Question

my2pittz's avatar

Whats the deal with Canadian healthcare?

Asked by my2pittz (9points) September 24th, 2008

Isnt it free to every Canadian citizen? Why cant the US do something like that?? Or is it not that good?

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7 Answers

MrMontpetit's avatar

I’m pretty sure I’m not educated enough to say why USA doesn’t do it, but I can answer yes, it is free to Canadian citizens, I can say that as a Canadian citizen.

Mtl_zack's avatar

the thing is, once you’re in the system, its amazing, but its hell to get in the system. for certain drugs and prescriptions, it isn’t free though. for instance, traveling vaccinations or certain “unnecessary” drugs that are replacing cheaper ones. for instance, stratera isn’t covered, but ritalin is.

my2pittz's avatar

@Mtl_zack…what makes it hell to get into the system. As far as the prescriptions that arent covered do you just have to pay whatever the full price is? Or do you receive a discount on them?

Snoopy's avatar

The Canadian system isn’t perfect. Yes, everyone is covered. But for specialists, there can be a wait of as long as a year to be seen.

Mtl_zack's avatar

there’s A LOT of paperwork to be done, and many people go to the hospital for the minor reasons like a soar throat, but they get in before someone with a concussion. there’s a lot of waiting involved. i remember staying in the waiting room(s) for 27 hours once. my injury was torn ligaments in my foot.

my travel vaccinations for rabies cost $195/shot and you have to take 3 shots over 4 weeks. so it was $600 plus $25 nurses fee in that clinic per visit. my father deals with all my prescriptions drugs because he’s a doctor and fills out the prescriptions, so I’m not sure about the price, but i would guess that its $85–100 ish for 200 pills of 5 mg each. I’m not sure what the regular price is.

dentistry and psychology are better because you meet with a specialist on appointment, hand him or her cash, and get a receipt that you cash in. either that or its charged to your medicare card which is a photo id. its also the primary id to get into bars besides drivers license.

artificialard's avatar

Travel vaccinations are somewhat of a unique case though. Generally it’s an exasperating wait to deal with for non-life threatening or specialists (i.e. Mtl zack’s ER visit, my friend’s knee surgery that had to wait a year) but I’ve found for critical life-saving operations and care it’s been excellent.

In metropolitan centres (i.e. Toronto) it’s been virtually impossible to find a decent doctor – I’ve literally been trying for 4 years and I’ve been using our university doc but will graduate soon. We do have a medical personnel shortage in our country because our healthcare system simply can’t pay our doctors as much as in the US…

Generally all doctors and specialists’ visits are paid for except any dental and optometrists (that I’m aware of) and those associated costs are also not covered (glasses, braces, etc.) Neither are most prescription drugs. For covered health care I’ve received you’re not billed at all (which is the norm) – you just show your government-issued health card for each visit and it’s taken care of by the facility.

Despite these problems I feel strongly for a universal healthcare plan, even with all the fiscal problems it’s caused our government. Watching US documentaries and being from Asia it’s frightening that one would have to worry about costs for treatments like chemotherapy or having a baby or be given a lower standard of care because I can’t afford better health insurance. There are endemic socioeconomic consequences in not extending proper healthcare to those that can’t afford it and I believe that it strongly contributes to the Canadian way of life that we enjoy.

Short answer
It’s not awesome but it’s there when you really need it. If you’re rich you can do better. If you’re poor you’re getting much better in Canada. But the benefits of universal healthcare (IMO) extend beyond each person’s individual health to a greater social good.

It’s been often said the US can do it but such a program would be a massive change and not at all conducive to the current economic climate. However universal health care for every American citizen is but a fraction of 700 billion dollars proposed for the current financial sector bailout so there’s the way, just not the will I suspect.

yannick's avatar

It’s better than America’s system, from what I understand. Then again, I don’t know much about it all :P you should watch ‘Sicko’, Micheal Moore’s doco. He does a bit on the Canadian system when trying to show how crap the US one is. I know a lot of people hate him, and the documentary is far from neutral, but it’s worth a viewing in my opinion. If nothing else, you’ll get a good laugh out of it :)

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