US flag with stethoscope and pill bottle

Do yourself a favor, take an hour and watch this movie:

Fix It: Healthcare at the Tipping Point.”

It is a beautifully directed, engagingly sober, humane, and very intelligent examination of U.S. healthcare’s multi-payer system. The core point: Our healthcare industry is devouring the viability of the society it is supposed to serve.

In part, this film’s power derives from the pithy and heartfelt contributions of national healthcare luminaries, like Don Berwick, Uwe Reinhardt, and former CIGNA executive Wendell Potter (who quit CIGNA over a crisis of conscience, has relentlessly campaigned about corrosive industry practices and was part of the team that put this together).

 

One company’s story

Richard Master, an attorney and CEO of MCS Industries, a mid-sized firm that is the nation’s leading manufacturer of wall and poster frames, was the Executive Producer and instrumental in getting the film done. He makes compellingly powerful observations about the unnecessary burden that U.S. healthcare, as it is currently configured, represents for his “worker family,” his business, and the country.

A long list of healthcare experts, physicians, business people, and patients weigh in, and each point is well-formed, supporting the larger argument. The story’s structure is masterfully handled by Director Vincent Mondillo, and Eric Werner’s photography is striking.

 

Fiercely pro-single payer

Make no mistake: This is a fiercely pro single payer documentary, but its perspectives are indisputably credible, solidly in the national interest and deserve a hearing.

“Imagine what it would mean for our infrastructure,” Mr. Master says at the end, “for disposable income, for our overall economic vitality. Imagine what it would mean for our business community not to have this albatross around their necks. It would be extraordinary!

50 COMMENTS

  1. I am a 70 year old Canadian. In my experience, in Canada, if I have a serious ailment, like a heart attack, I will get taken care of quickly and at no additional cost to me. The problem comes with non-life threatening health issues, where we can get into lengthy wait times, especially when it comes to specialist care. What I haven’t seen anyone address is why there are these long delays in Canada. One of the major causes is the lack of doctors. I have personally experienced having doctors that I knew, and used, move to the U.S. This has been the result of a government-run health care system that doesn’t pay doctors as much as they can make south of the border, and cripples them with regulations.

  2. I have no idea which country has a better health care system – All I know is this

    As a small Canadian Business Person my co’s are NOT RESPONSIBLE for employee health care
    Yes, I pay CRA payroll taxes but I have to believe unlike my counterparts in the USA I have the potential for higher profits, because my employee costs are lower, because GOVERNMENT, not business, is responsible for folks health care costs

    Next, since the GOVERNMENT is responsible, I do not require to be employed, and or afraid to change jobs, because my employment status is not tied to my health care coverage, as a Canadian, I feel free-er than my American counterparts

    Finally, since my basic care, is covered, from birth to death, I never have to think about the costs related to my health, and or coverage, or worried of I choose the right plan, etc, unlike my American counterparts, I feel as I can live life more worry and stress free

    In fact, even if my countries coverage is not as good as the American one, the fact that I do not have to worry about it, can switch jobs freely, I never have to stress or think about, I think I’ll take a lower quality of coverage, over a higher one, in consideration of the freedom that comes with it

    America is my fave country in the world after Canada, I spend alot of time next door, but I would not trade my health coverage for anything, making me feel very proud about having been lucky to have been born in Canada, where I don;t have to think about the kind of health coverage I;ll have when I am retired and no longer working

    jc – 53 – tramps like us

  3. Hey America: If you’re an rich or in the minority fortunate enough to have good Medical insurance, you probably have good heath care that won’t break your budget. If not, if you get really sick you might have to join the group of Americans who file bankruptcy for a particular reason (the biggest reason American citizen file for bancruptcy), namely: unpayable medical bills.
    Hey Canada: Yes, there may sometimes be long waits for specialist appointments, but you still will be seen and treated and won’t have to pay out of your own pocket. And your medical care delivery won’t be dictated by special interest groups like clinical/hospital chains or big Pharma like it is in some other places.
    Hey everybody: which system is better. (hint: all the developed countries in the world -with the exception of the USA- have some kind of universal, government-sponsored heath care for their citizens).
    -from a dual US/Canada citizen who has lived in both countries for decades and dealt with both their health care systems intimitely.

  4. I’m a Canadian with an 80+ year old mother needing back surgery and a 5 year old niece who had open heart surgery 2days ago. I also fell while visiting Seattle last month and had to go to an ER.

    First, American care is excellent. The waiting room was nearly empty so it was fast. They took x-rays of my knee so it was thorough. Luckily, I had travellers insurance or it would have bankrupted me. Bankrupted over a banged up knee. Actually, the worst part of the whole process was having to fill out all the forms. In Canada, we just show our care card.

    Second, my niece is doing fine at BC Children’s hospital. It recently had an upgrade so the rooms are beautiful and spacious with all the needed equipment. This is not a third world hospital. Again, my sister’s cost on this is zero. Unless my niece requires drugs outside of the hospital. Then there may be a cost if my sisters supplemental insurance doesn’t cover it.

    Finally, my mom has osteoporosis and fractured a vertebra in her lower back. Because of her osteo, the more usual treatments are unavailable. Also, because she still has strength and control of her muscles and bladder, it’s rated as less serious even though she is in excruciating pain. Primary care was excellent. ER care was excellent. But seeing a specialist was an 8 month wait. This is where “rationing” takes place in the system although the true name is “triage”. Because there is a limited supply of resources (back doctors in this case), priority is given to those most in need. As I said, since she has motor control, she’s low down the list. In contrast, when she broke her hip 18 years ago, she had a hip replacement operation in less than a week. She was near the top of the list that time. Anyway, since we can’t wait 8 months, she has seen a private clinic for a consult, got a private MRI, and is scheduled for surgery this coming week. It seems like a lot of money to us, but it’s still UNDER CDN$20,000. Which is what a couple of days in a US hospital would cost.

    Conclusion, both sides of the border have excellent healthcare. The difference is that Canadian healthcare tries to maximize the number of patients they can see while minimizing cost while American healthcare is about maximizing profit. Would I like to see more specialists in Canada? Yes, of course, but I don’t know if that is the best use of resources. Maybe the money could better be used for more hospital beds or nurses. That decision will be made by elected officials accountable to the public and will be made in the public interest. In the US, there are far more specialists because they make more money. The market decides how many specialists vs. hospital beds vs. nurses there are and it’s not in the general public interest, but the interest of the hospital owners on one hand, and heavily insured (or just plain rich) patients on the other.

  5. As a Canadian working in the healthcare system, Americans need to know regardless of the country you live in there is no such thing as “free” healthcare. Most Provinces that fund it are spending up to 50% of their budget on healthcare. Guess what, demographics are the enemy with an ageing population and it’s going to increase at the expense of other programs like education, social services etc. The top tax bracket in Ontario is now 53% and we cannot deduct interest on our mortgages or deduct state tax. So, if you want free healthcare, prepare to pay.

  6. wow more propaganda. I can tell you that many hospitals in Canada would never get past a JCAHO inspection. Gurneys in the hall, There is lax cleaning were sometimes blood or other bodily fluids on floor, Wait times are ridiculous, DR’s and specials wait times for people in certain geographical areas are ridiculous. I have experience in both medical facilities and I can tell you this story is complete BS.

    • Dental work has never been covered by provincial health plans. Most employed Canadians pay for dental coverage along with enhanced coverage (semi private, prescriptions etc.) Going to Cuba for dental treatment is BS.

  7. I am a Canadian/US dual citizen and I’ve lived in both countries. There are pros and cons in both countries.

    I received excellent health care in the USA…and I mean real “care” from doctors and nurses who appeared to actually care. When you allow governments to take charge of your health, it’s like asking the IRS or Revenue Canada to care that you might have a suspicious growth in your left lung. Then, assuming that they do take it seriously, you might wait months to get an appointment for an MRI….and maybe, too late. In Canada I get to spend maybe five minutes with my doctor and I’m rushed out the door. In the US, I had the luxury of spending 20 minutes with my doctor…and he sometimes called me at home after a visit to be sure the treatment worked. Maybe he was unusual.

    Free in Canada? No! NOTHING is free. In Canada, we all pay through the nose through our multi-level taxes for a very bureaucratic slow system. Wait times in ERs can be up to 10 hours. I have a good friend whose wife sat in an “emergency room” for 8 hours. She gave up. He took her home. She died the next day. Yes, that’s extreme, but it should never happen. Remember, we are dealing with essentially civil servant medical staff. My wife rushed me to the ER one day about two years ago convinced that I was having a heart attack. I had serious chest pains. When we arrived at the ER and found out how long the wait for help might be, I insisted on going back home where it was less stressful. The pain subsided.

    There is something to be said for health care in both countries….but lets not confuse health care with a health care SYSTEM.

    Unfortunately, we don’t seem to be asking the right questions. We need to first ask, why does health care cost so much? Why do MRI machines cast so much? Why does a hospital stay cost so much? Why can’t we put a cap on insane lawsuits against doctors and hospitals? Before we come up with a system, let’s investigate outrageous costs of hospital stays and exams. (A similar case can be made for the rising costs of tuition.)

    We are all going to die but the effort to extend our lives is expensive. We have to face that. Neither country has the answer to making health care available to all in a cost effective way while delivering quick effective caring treatment.

  8. The Canadian system is far from free, as their taxes are very high. I am very sad to report that my elderly Canadian in-laws would not be alive today if we had not brought them to the US and paid cash for their treatment. Essentially, the very system they paid into for many years failed them when they finally needed it. Lesson learned is that you should not count on the government to do anything efficiently, least of all something as important as your health. I sincerely hope that we never have such a horrible system in the US.

  9. Think Canadian healthcare is so great. I’m a physical therapist who herniated a disc in my back and required surgery. It would have take 8 months to see a surgeon here and another year after that to have surgery, best case scenario. I hand picked my surgeon in the US and had surgery 2 weeks later. I was grateful to pay out of pocket. Full recovery x 6 weeks. Be careful what you wish for US.

  10. In the US, I had insurance purchased as a tourist and waited 3 hours in ER in Philly’s suburbs twice. In Canada, I waited for the same back pain…3 hours. Each hospital triages patients, the Canadian by the absolute need diagnosed or reported on arrival, the American by whether I also had insurance — and need.

    Clearly, the 2 criteria are at odds. Can. taxes are high, but I have no insurance or health costs beyond supplements — for travel abroad, private rooms, eyeglass and dental coverage. MRI for rotator cuff took 3 days wait. Colonoscopy when not “standard scheduled” took 7 days, not 6 months.

    First, a 1-payer system reduces med. paperwork here by 78%!

    Secondly, our doctors, hospital administrators, and gov. budgeters work together using detailed demographics and allowing some room for last-minute shifting resources for epidemics, floods, and virus outbreaks.

    Third, we have a Needs-based system, not a patient’s Desire-based one. Want a heart by-pass? At 97? Don’t be silly. NO way. Results. We live 3-5 years longer here. What would you pay for that? And we have no medical bankruptcy problem. Why is this hard for the US to see?

  11. ***G D May 22, 2016 at 8:14 am

    There doesn’t appear to be differentiation between health care offered in large cities vs. rural locations.

    I have noticed a vastly different health care system between rural Ontario and larger populated locations. Rural Ontario hospitals have almost no diagnostic equipment, and rarely have specialists.***

    Are you saying that every American town with a population of 2000/3000 that has a hospital have all diagnostic equipment and a team of specialists?

    Somehow, I find that hard to believe…..

  12. Is there seriusly a debut about whos health care is better…..
    Americans are so ignorant. We spend our money on health care while you spend it on guns and weapons. Good job neibourghs. Let not talk about gun violence…i suppose you dont have a problem there as well??

  13. As an American living in Canada for the past 12 years I can tell you that the single payer system works just fine for day to day illnesses and even for serious issues like heart attacks and cancer. I have had two heart attacks and am a cancer survivor and received all of my treatments here for minimal cost. The system works for the most part although if you need to see a specialist, there can be long waits. The only dispute I have is that Canadians think it is free. It is far from free. Taxes in Canada are ridiculously high and the amount paid does not make the system any more efficient. Would love to see a similar system in the U.S. without the high taxes and long waits.

  14. While it is interesting to read Canadians’ impressions of their health systems’ strengths and weaknesses, especially in contrast to the US system, its a different point than the film makes. The issue at hand is the tremendous cost and excessive care that is delivered by the US’ strange health system, and how a single payer system might be an improvement.

  15. I think if you asked the vast majority of Canadians what they thought of their healthcare system it would be overwhelming support. It is one of the cherished programs that goes beyond political lines. It is mind boggling for Canadians who look at the American’s fear of a single payer system. Canadians are bewildered as to why any American would be opposed to such a system as our universal healthcare system. In the USA, it would seem that the real winners in the American system are the insurance companies who make enormous sums without ever contributing to well being of the end user. It is understandable that with the amount of profits on the table for the insurance companies that they would lobby very hard against any change to the current American system. The movie, I believe, was a very accurate portrayal of the Canadian system. As a Canadian, I can assure you that I have received very good care in Canada and that I have never had to worry about being financially ruined should I have an illness or disease. As I watched the movie, it struck me that there is no place I have to take out my wallet in the doctor’s office or hospital other than to give them my health card so they can bill the Ministry of Health. To repeat, Canadians love their health care system. It is not perfect but it serves all the people very well without discrimination.

  16. I am a canadian in my eighties, living all my life in montreal. Canada does not probably have the best healthcare system in the world, but thanks to our system I had two knee replacements, open heart surgery, appendix operation which didn’t cost me a cent. Everything, including a week in a rehab centre after each knee replacement. Our system is not perfect, but if you fall sick, it won’t cost you a fortune.

  17. Our health care is not the best in Canada as if u go 2 emergency as I have I waited 15 hours & finally got a ct scan plus ur treated like why r u hear & makes u feel guilty but if ur on social assistance every Health meds ect is free & that’s why people who have money go across the border 2 U.S. & u get seen immediately it takes 2 hours 2 get 2 North Dakota

  18. How sad when I listen to brainwashed folks talk about free. I’m about 5 generation Canadian and I am now ashamed and sad for my country, that we are easily duped. Free, Canadians are one of the highest taxed countries in the world and you don’t get drugs, glasses, hearing, dentist etc., all of these are not included in our “free” healthcare. This healthcare also uses your tax dollars to abort defenseless infants, euthanize the useless, etc. The government dictates your health care. I was married to an American and used their healthcare and it was so much better than the 3rd world care we get in Canada. Don’t be fooled by the propaganda, THERE IS NO FREE.

    • Are you sure you living in CANADA and not MARS or somewhere else. From your cooments about ABORTION indicates that your beleif are religion based and not on science and reality. Unfortunately I had to use the health care system for the last 10 years on almost continous bases first for my ailing father and then for myself for various ailments from cancer to heart problems. There was NEVER any delays or problems just excellant care. This is not based on few hospital visiti but many spread over different times and months over ten year. E/R problem is due to OVERUSE (not knowing when to use). Wake up and see the reality. Can you give a single example of ANYONE being euthanized due to shortage of medical resources. DONT make stupid statements like these without FACTS.

  19. There doesn’t appear to be differentiation between health care offered in large cities vs. rural locations.

    I have noticed a vastly different health care system between rural Ontario and larger populated locations. Rural Ontario hospitals have almost no diagnostic equipment, and rarely have specialists.

    If you are lucky enough to survive transport to a larger hospital, you are OK.
    MRIs are rationed and don’t exist at rural hospitals in Canada.

    As a duel citizen, I moved to Canada prior to Obamacare. I do know from assisting people that had little or no insurance, those people were well served with top notch care even in rural areas, with major and minor illnesses in multiple states and also in large cities, having lived in both.

    People, have told me that Obamacare has just made it more expensive and more complicated, but I don’t have personal experience yet.

    I will let you know in a few more years.

    I am unimpressed, with the standard of care in rural Ontario.
    I don’t know if that is because of political support of the current political party in Ontario is primarily based in large cities. l cannot understand it. Draw your inbox conclusions.

  20. I’m 62 and in excellent health. However due to an unknown rare inability to properly process sugar (not diabetes) I had a heart attack. Within 20 minutes of the start of the event I was in the operating room receiving superb care. I’m now recovering with a 100% recovery expected. All this and no financial losses or bankruptcy. Canada’s health care system is fantastic.

    • Hi Keith, I am glad you had such a good experience and outcome! Since there is no way to pay for everyone every single person wants in terms of health care, I would rather see prioritization of the type of service you got over being able to get an MRI for chronic shoulder pain without a wait.

  21. As a Winter Texan from Canada – who spends winters on the Tx/Mx border and a little over 6 months at home in Canada, I see both sides of the ‘coin’. Here in Canada each individual Province has it’s own individual Medical Plan which looks after patients within that Province. It is not one universal plan covering all of Canada. The Cdn. Military has a unique plan, as does Federal and Provincial employees have also a separate plan and in many that means a private or semi-private medical plans. These plans may extend into coverage of these employees families.

    In the US of A, in the clinics and hospitals I seen in approx. 10 yrs. of winters we (wife and I) – I see many ERs and health clinics are empty or almost empty. Why? Folks sick or in need of medical advice are unable to see health providers, due (my guess) no coverage and/or no funds to pay for those services. CFA

    • It is a universal plan. I live in Alberta and have been to a doctor in Ontario and Quebec. There is no charge for that. I can see any doctor or hospital in Canada regardless of which province I live in

      • oh no you can’t. and all of your medical benefits are subject to review by the province of jurisdiction. people do get bills for services above their provincial coverage. and if you have any company extra coverage it is also only good in province of origin. all other costs will be looked at and you may not have complete coverage and be subject to pre existing condition clauses.
        It is not just outside of Canada that you need insurance for, it is out of province. Scoot over to Allianz Insurance or RBC insurance and see what they sell. It may well be that you didn’t get a bill and it may be that Alberta’s rate for the Quebec and Ontario medical services covered it or your private insurance did but DO NOT ASSUME your provincial coverage is 100 percent anywhere in Canada.

      • Actually Garyth Canadafirstaid is correct about Canada not having a ‘national’ Medical Services Plan (MSP) – medical treatment being a provincial prerogative. Having said that there is a reciprocal billing agreement between all provinces (except Quebec) whereby any provincial medical plan providing services to an out-of-province patient will send the bill to the user’s provincial MSP. In the case of Quebec’s medical services plan (RAMQ) the doctor needs to bill the visiting patient directly and then the patient has to resubmit the bill to his or her provincial MSP (i.e. Quebec is not part of the ‘National’ system – a complete shock to every Canadian I’m sure ). Since all provincial plans are not equal, however, the user can still be exposed to various costs and differentials in pricing not covered by their particular plan. Within Canada these differences can sometimes add up to hundreds of dollars. It seems that the poor doctor who treated you in Quebec inadvertently did it for free.

  22. I’m a Canadian girl married to an American. I love our healthcare system, but I also have a personal critical illness policy just in case I get cancer or something that needs to be dealt with quickly. I’ll pay for treatment in the USA if there is a long wait in Canada. Long waits are a definite drawback to public healthcare, but I would hate to have the American system of healthcare!! My husband likes the American system however. Our long waits for things like MRIs and getting into a specialist makes him crazy! There’s so much competition in the States that there doesn’t seem to be much of a wait at all.

  23. I HAVE BEEN IN CANADA OVER 30 YEARS, RETIRED U.S. NAVY, WE OWNED A LARGE BUSINESS AND QUITE FAMILIAR WITH BOTH CANADIAN HEALTH CARE AND VETERANS ADMININSTRATION HEALTH CARE AND THEY ARE BASICALLY THE SAME. YOU MAY HAVE TO WAIT A BIT FOR EVERYDAY WALK IN TREATMENT OR TO SEE A PHYSICIAN JUST BRING A BOOK -THE TREATMENT IS FREE, JUST HAVE TO PAY FOR DRUGS. SO WHY THE HELL DO AMERICANS WANT TO PAY $3,000 A YEAR TO INSURANCE COMPANIES FOR SOMETHING THAT IS FREE. WHY DO COMPANIES HAVE TO PROVIDE ANY TYPE OF MEDICAL INSURANCE (PERHAPS THEY COULD OFFER A DRUG BENEFIT INSTEAD) YOU CAN USE THAT MONEY TO PURCHASE FURNITURE, APPLIANCES ETC. THE ECONMOMY WOULD REBOUND WITH JOBS. INSURANCE COMPANIES COULD SELL OTHER THAN HEATH CARE INSURANCE. AFTER 30 YEARS I KNOW WHERE CANADA IS SCREWING UP. AMERICA DOES NOT NEED TO MAKE THOSE ERRORS. OBAMA TRIED BUT FAILED! HE USES TOO MANY 25c WORDS HE LEARNED AT HARVARD. 80% OF AMERICANS DO NOT HAVE A COLLEGE EDUCATION AND COULD CARE LESS ABOUT AFLUENT LANGUAGE? THEY WANT TO SEE RESULTS NOT PROMISES OR SCREW UPS. THE CANADIAN SYSTEM WOULD WORK. AS FOR DOCTORS AND ONLY DOCTORS, THEY WOULD RECEIVE A FREE EDUCATION UPON GRADUATION THEY WOULD BE OFFERED A CHOICE OF PRACTICING IN ONE OF 5 LOCATIONS THAT WOULD BE OFFERED TO THEM. SOME MAY REQUIRE RELOCATING BUT IT WOULD BE JUST LIKE BEING IN THE MILITARY. WORK FOR THOSE 5 YEARS AND MOVE ON TO A LOCATION OF YOUR CHOOSING AFTERWARDS, WITHOUT ANY EDUCATIONAL LOANS BEHIND THEM. MOST OF THESE DOCTORS, COULD RAISE FAMILIES IN THESE AREAS AND BECOME PILLARS IN THOSE COMMUNITIES AND MAYBE NEVER WANT OR DESIRE TO LEAVE.

    • Wow, “FREE”??? Hardly. The ‘savings’ from not having to pay premiums is totally eaten up by higher taxes of all kinds. How do you think the health care is paid for? The ideal is to have a government health care but with some cost to the patient, nothing that would break anyone but some nominal charges. Anything that is free or perceived to be free is abused. In Canada we do too much waiting for health care. Anyone who says otherwise either has not had to access major treatments or thinks they are not waiting too long because they have been conditioned to wait.

  24. What a load of bull, Lowell. The US government pays MORE per capita for its faulty system than we do here, and we get more for it without having to fret about insurance, copays, deductibles, and whatever else. It is a complete myth that our debt is primarily driven by health care costs. While it is a factor, it is certainly no more a factor than it already is in the US, so that should not be your argument.

    I am also a Canadian and I have had relatives who are elderly who have had transplants, costly operations, and so on without any problems whatsoever. In the end, I’m not sure what country you’re talking about.

  25. I also am a Canadian and my father received a triple heart bypass at 78 and a shoulder replacement at 91. There was never any talk of rationing, or denying the procedures due to his age. It is time for the silent majority of Canadians to speak up and tell the real truth about our system, the system we take for granted. There will be those that like to glorify the problems and challenges our health care system faces, but to do away with it because of a few isolated shortcomings? If those that feel they are being short changed or denied service, simply move South and you can buy any procedure you wish, if you can afford it.

  26. I am also Canadian and my mother (aged 76) recently survived a nasty series of strokes and partial paralysis. The system may not be picture-perfect, but it saved her life and didn’t financially bankrupt her future, which hopefully will be long and fulfilling. As far as I’m concerned, our public health care system is worth every penny. If we still used pennies up here.

    • I’ve had 2 knee replacements, and a couple of strokes total medical cost was $75 x2 ($150) for the 2 ambulances that took me to hospital-that’s all, drugs are pretty near almost free as well- you pay a small prescription charge each time you prescribed get a new drug-(about $5)waiting time vary from city to city for operations but you can go to another city if your town wait is too slow

  27. I am a Candian; my father-in-law has bone cancer, but because he is over 70 years of age, he is not eligible for a potentially life-saving bone marrow transplant. If that isn’t rationing, I don’t know what is. Furthermore, healthcare costs are the primary driving force behind our national debt. We need to look at the facts
    and stop focusing on the con jobs.

    • It wouldn’t be an article referencing the Canadian health care system without a disgruntled “Canadian” with a personal gripe about it. The vast majority of Canucks are very satisfied with our single payer system and for the most part, take it for granted that you can visit a doctor, be admitted to hospital, or receive any number of medical procedures and tests, without ever reaching into your pocket to pay for it.

      • I’m an American living in Quebec. Not enough Doctors. I’ve been waiting 6 months for a colonoscapy. If you have the flew you either wait 20 hours in an emergency room, or you get up at 4 am and stand in line hoping to get in and see a doctor (maybe) sometime later that day. I could go on…like a lady that waited 1 1/2 years for a hip replacement. Most Canadians that can afford to go to the US for serious surgery’s. Or go to Cuba for dental work.

        • “Most Canadians that can afford to go to the US for serious surgery.”
          Simply not true. I am 65, have lived in Canada my entire life and have never encountered a single person who has gone to the US for surgery, although I have heard stories of some who have. I have also had a hip replacement, for which I had to wait ten weeks…weeks, not months. My out of pocket expense? About $50 for rental of a walker and purchase of a cane and sock puller.

          Stats are stats. Our health care costs per capita $4400; the US $8700; our life expectancy 82; the US 79; our infant mortality rate is very bad at 5.1/1000, but it still beats the US at 6.5/1000. All the anecdotes in the world don’t change those a single decimal place.

        • No they are not. Do your research about health-care in Canada and costs before you say crop there must be other factors to your father health

        • Funny. I got mine in less than a month. And why would you go to a emergency for a flu. Seriously another American who doesn’t know what he is talking about

          • I’m an American and there are people who go to the Emergency room for the Flu. I have seen it several times, in Surrey BC. And I know what I’m talking about… I had to wait two hours with a very sick spouse while people where treated for the flu in an Emergency room.

        • Dental work has never been covered by provincial health plans. Most employed Canadians pay for dental coverage along with enhanced coverage (semi private, prescriptions etc.) Going to Cuba for dental treatment is BS.

        • That’s not my experience at all in Alberta. I received both of my colonoscopies within weeks of seeking a booking. My doctor is available on short notice. When I have wanted second opinions, I have been able to get doctors to provide them, and of course, all doctors’ visits are free. In Canada there are no HMOs; there is just one tier of service and all of us, rich and poor, have much the same access to physicians and to hospitals. We Canadians live three years longer on average than Americans and I think our universal medical care system is a good part of the reason for that. And our medical care takes up only 12 percent of our GDP relative to 19 percent in the U.S. where administrative costs due to competition and the profit motive are sucking your country dry. Dental work is NOT covered by medicare, which is why many Canadians, like many Americans, do not go to dentists. I strongly advocate adding dental care–and pharmacare–to the Canadian system.

    • Lowell Nicholl is incorrect. The age cutoffs for different types of bone marrow transplants are for medical reasons, with older people being either at risk or unable to benefit.

    • Lowell Nicholl is wrong. The age cutoffs exist outside of Canada too and are for medical reasons – beyond a certain age, the transplants become ineffective and/or too risky.

      • I find it fascinating when individuals have the mendacity to spout off about an issue based solely on theory but are quick dismiss and disparage those who speak of real life experiences. For clarification, it is important to understand that I believe that Canada’s single payer system is much better than the debacle in the U.S.A.; nevertheless, it is wise to know the potential pitfalls. Obviously, I am one of the unenlightened who still rely on experience rather than pure theory and partisan rhetoric before forming an opinion. I am a 61yr old business owner, my wife, who is also my business partner, is 47yrs old. After 17yrs with the same insurance company, both of us have had our life insurance benefits canceled because of treatable conditions we both developed since the start of the last policy period. Also, I had to wait 2 1/2 years for an appointment to finally see a specialist regarding my intermittent vertigo. Again, speaking from personal experience, the best medical attention I ever received was from the Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital in California after my 12yr old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. She went into a coma and almost died; however, the care she received while at the Loma Linda, was incredible and saved her life. In closing, medical care is hypercritical; therefore, we need to avoid the political rhetoric and opinions of those with a duplicitous agenda, before forming an opinion. I know John Flaherty and his “ilk” will consider my personal experience a “personal gripe”, but I think my comments are salient to the conversation.

    • The survival rate is almost zero.
      You arguing from one example, however emotional and personal it may be

      Rationing is a necessity in any system, else you have a disproportionate national resources devoted to keep people alive at the end of life.
      A private system just rations by individual wealth.

      How about the 86 year old man in Florida who shot is sick wife because he could not afford her medicines, just last week.

    • What province? There is no arbitrary cut-off at 70 but rather the prognosis with or without the transplant. In the US he would have already lost his house. My mother is 89 lives in Ontario and since turning 88 has suffered kidney failure and the after effects of bowel surgery . She receives dialysis 3 days a week all paid for by the system. My wife’s older sister also in Ontario was air lifted from Florida back home, had emergency colon surgery, chemo therapy and radiation .,. Treatment has continued for 4 years . She has never received a bill. In the US her house would have been long gone.

  28. Excellent presentation. I’m convinced. Bad information has been given about the sinke payer system. Rationing, denying healthcare for expensive treatments. Spread the word, let our next President know to just let everyone be covered like Medicare for all but no supplemental insurance at all. Let the Government pay the bill, no matter which Dr. Or hospital you go to, your choice. Better for All!!

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