Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Oh, Canada

Our neighbor to the north has an ailing public health care system to match our ailing private one, and 10 years ago, one physician founded his own (illegal) private hospital to expedite treatment (to those who can pay). More are following suit.

The New York Times predicts much profit:

The country's publicly financed health insurance system — frequently described as the third rail of its political system and a core value of its national identity — is gradually breaking down. Private clinics are opening around the country by an estimated one a week, and private insurance companies are about to find a gold mine. . . .

Canadian leaders continue to reject the largely market-driven American system, with its powerful private insurance companies and 40 million people left uninsured, as they look to European mixed public-private health insurance and delivery systems. . . .

The median wait time between a referral by a family doctor and an appointment with a specialist has increased to 8.3 weeks last year from 3.7 weeks in 1993, according to a recent study by The Fraser Institute, a conservative research group. Meanwhile the median wait between an appointment with a specialist and treatment has increased to 9.4 weeks from 5.6 weeks over the same period. . . .

Average wait times between referral by a family doctor and treatment range from 5.5 weeks for oncology to 40 weeks for orthopedic surgery, according to the study."

Are you one of those 40 million without coverage?

It's not like having "insurance" is all that great.

The AP reported that in just 10 years, an aging American (aren't we all?) will spend 20% of their income on health care.

Personally, I spend 9.7% already. Not counting dentists, because I never see them. And it's not like I have cancer or anything systemic yet like a number of other 30-somethings I know, either.

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