Monday, September 3, 2018
Nova Scotia, Canada
America’s Shame and Canada’s Gain
Traveling through Canada for the first time in decades, I met a lovely lawyer, named Sanjay, on the train to Halifax, Nova Scotia. We had dinner last night. His story of the Canadian health system brought the terrific shame of our American system to mind.
Here’s his tale:
Perhaps in his late 50’s, Sanjay was diagnosed with bladder cancer around five years ago. The tumor was caught early, and it was removed with no need for chemotherapy or any other treatment. He undergoes a yearly cystoscopy for follow up evaluations.
Sanjay paid ZERO for the diagnosis, treatment, or annual follow up.
His mother, in her late 80s, is being treated for two different types of cancer. They required, sadly, two surgeries and two rounds of chemo. She’s recovered, but has limited mobility mostly due to her age.
The Canadian health care system provided all the treatment she required and provides her with two-daily in-home nursing visits.
Sanjay’s mother paid ZERO for the diagnosis, treatment, or follow up.
I won’t bore you with too many details of my medical misadventures, but here’s a quick overview of my most recent one—five years ago. A small neck lump turned out to be a not-worrisome form of thyroid cancer, requiring surgical removal of the small mass, the thyroid, and the lymph nodes along the right side of my neck.
Although I pay around $1,000 per month for lousy insurance through Blue Shield, the adventure ran some $100,000, all included. I never saw an itemized bill from the hospital.
Unlike Sanjay or his mother, I paid $9,000 out of pocket in addition to my monthly premiums.
For many reasons, most of which I covered in an earlier posting and which I re-print here:
Canadians pay a bit more in taxes than we do. However, and as I argued in that earlier post, it would come out to considerably LESS of an increase in actual taxes, in my case (and most likely in yours, too) than the more than $12,000 per year in health insurance premiums I pay now, not to mention expensive co-pays like the $9000.
Can you appreciate the absurdity?
Can you appreciate the injustice?
We are the ONLY industrialized nation on earth without guaranteed health care for its citizens.
The international medical-industrial complex milks us for profit—unlike any other citizens in the developing world.
We have the strongest, most expensive military machine on the planet, and yet we can’t manage to provide basic health care for our citizens.
What good is it to protect our country from attack when we cannot even take care of our own citizen’s basic healthcare needs?
No wonder more and more Americans consider moving to Canada. It’s cold in winter, yes, but the people are lovely, the country gorgeous, and man oh man, these Canadians actually care for the health of their citizens.
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Alan Karbelnig, PhD, ABPP