03 July 2009

The awful truth about Canadian healthcare...

is that there IS no awful truth about Canadian healthcare.

Every wingnut in the US seems to have a Canadian friend who whispers horror stories in their ears about the "evilz of soshulized medisin." Right. So...how do things really work in Canada, then? Let's find out:

United States: 31% of health-care money goes to overhead (paperwork, company salaries & profits, and so on).
Canada: 1% of health-care money goes to overhead.

United States: 17% of the gross domestic product (GDP) is spent on health care.
Canada: 10% of the GDP is spent on health care.

United States: Less than 85% of the population is covered, and many of those have inadequate coverage. The U.S. has many “hidden” costs when uncovered people go to emergency facilities in order to get health care.
Canada: 100% of the population is covered through the normal system.

United States: Insurance companies often overrule doctors’ health-care decisions.
Canada: Your doctors are the only ones who make your health-care decisions.

United States: 14.4% say they have unmet health-care needs.
Canada: 11.3% say they have unmet health-care needs.

United States: You have to find a doctor who’s in your health insurance plan.
Canada: You go to any doctor.

United States: Doctors are private businesses; they do not work for the government. Their fees are reimbursed by the health insurers.
Canada: Doctors are private businesses; they do not work for the government. Their fees are reimbursed by the government, which acts as the health insurer.

That list was helpfully compiled by Barry Leiba from an article written by, like, an actual Canadian who happens to be quite knowledgeable about the Canadian system, since she's an expat Canadian physician.

So...Huh! Well, then...so maybe we shouldn't rely on the second- or third-hand accounts, translated by wingnuts, of expat Canadians who may or may not exist outside the wingnut mind?

Novel concept, I know.

Going through that list piece by piece, we debunk some MAJOR myths:

1. The myth that "socialized medicine" is more expensive than the American system. The truth is the complete opposite.
2. The myth that the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship would be breached by the government. Those who propagate this myth do indeed conveniently forget that greedy motherfucking insurance companies CONSTANTLY step in and prevent doctors from providing the best care for their patients.
3. The myth that there are just millions of Canadians languishing while they wait for treatment they can't get under their system. Apparently Canadians deal with that less under their system than we do under ours.
4. The myth that the "gubmint will choose your doctor for you." Not so! Those who propagate that myth do indeed conveniently forget that HMO's are always choosing and denying doctors for people. I've watched people go down a list of doctors to find that their insurance plan doesn't allow them to go to Dr. Friendly where they actually want to go. In Canada, all doctors are part of the same plan, so ta-da, you pick ANY doctor.

(No shit.)

As the writer of the primary article also points out:

It is becoming increasingly more difficult to dispute the fact that Canada
spends less money on health care to get better outcomes

Do read that entire piece. She debunks ALL the myths, even more than the ones above. There are so many.


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