A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. > Trans-Atlantic Knowledge Exchange

What do Americans really think about Canadian/EU health-care?

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Miss Tickle:
In regards to services, taxes and fees? I've been reading about the new changes and it's hard for me to put it into perspective, because I grew up with what you think of as "free" healthcare. It's not, but I can't really see a huge difference in my quality of life compared to the life of an average American.

If it helps to put it in perspective: Outside of "regular taxes" my husband and I pay $201.00 per month in medical to the government, and an extra $60.00 privately for supplemental coverage for dental, drugs, private care, and so on. I've never paid a doctor a penny. There's no "co-pay" to get your sniffles checked out. If I call an ambulance it's $80.00 (and that's a lot, because I live within a mile of the hospital. If I didn't? Still $80.00). Need an airlift? $80.00.

That being said, we still have all the things I think Americans think of as important, such as a stable home, retirement savings, disposable income, healthy living options.

So what's the deal?

gollymolly2:
I think you'll find that opinions run the gamut, from "Canadian healthcare is the greatest thing on earth!" to "With Canadian healthcare, you get what you pay for - almost nothing!" to everywhere in between. I think you'll also find that not many people actually have a solid, well-researched idea of how the Canadian healthcare functions.  Our political parties are pretty split on how they think healthcare should work, so both hold up Canada as examples of how great/terrible Canadian healthcare is. People tend to hear the same anecdotes over and over and form opinions but I don't think many of us (myself certainly included) actually have a good, nuanced grasp of what's going on up there.

Sharnita:
It might also depend on whether you've worked in a medical related field, had a serious illness,  live close enough to Canada to witness any aspects of the health care system first hand, etc.

cwm:
I've had a good friend in Canada go through a lot of problems trying to get care. Here in the US, we have MRI clinics where all they do is MRIs. I had an accident and had to get an MRI of my shoulder, and we scheduled it for early evening one day, and they even had an open MRI so I wouldn't be claustrophobic. When my friend needed an MRI, the only time she could schedule for was around 3 or 4 in the morning because all of the MRIs were at hospitals and they couldn't schedule them during peak hours (?). This was in Toronto, so it's not that it was a small city.

I'm lucky enough to have great insurance through where I work. I've been lucky to have continuous coverage from the time I was a small child. I've even had a hard time paying hospital bills and doctors bills. When I had an ovarian cyst rupture and had to be taken to the ER for the pain (and because I didn't know at the time what was happening), the insurance tried to deny my claim because I "wasn't ill" at the time. The doctors did nothing but speculate on what caused the pain, did an internal exam to make sure nothing was damaged, and sent me on my way. I still had to pay $250 that the insurance didn't cover for that, and if it ever happens again when I'm in public, it'll be hard for me to tell people not to call an ambulance or refuse treatment because I can't speak through the pain. At the same time, I can't afford the trip to the ER. Just because someone is insured in the US doesn't mean that they can actually afford all the care they need.

Jones:
I'm sure I'm biased because we only hear the bad stories. Most of what's filtered to me has been about long and painful waits for a surgery spot to open.

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