I am an American living in British Columbia. My whole life I have been weened on stories of Canada's socialized healthcare and how amazing it is. If I had a dime for every American I have heard say this... will I would be able to but coffee for a week. I was told that everyone in Canada is covered by health insurance and prescription costs are low... all in all a way better system then in America.
Now that I been in Country for sever months I am beginning to wounder if all those people that have told me all those amazing stories about Canadian healthcare have ever even been to Canada?!
Here is the reality; All Canadians are covered by health insurance but for most this does not include prescription coverage. That can be picked up through a 3rd party insurer for a premium. But many on the low end of the income scale cannot afford the private prescription coverage. What is the point of going to see a doc, who uses medication to treat you, all to have to go without because you cannot afford the prescription coverage or the cost of the medication? I know someone in Canada that had surgery but took no pain killers because they lacked the insurance and could not afford the medicine!!! People with disabilities do get health and prescription coverage in Canada.
In Canada you get charged for paperwork to be filled out or even just signed by a doc. This is troubling because there are Canadian programs in place aimed at helping low income people receive extra benefits, but to get these extra benefits you have to have your doc sign the paperwork which can cost $75! For most $75 is is an easily absorbed expense, but for those living on a fixed income especially here in Canada where the price of living is much higher than many areas in America, having to pay the $75 can be a barrier to getting the much needed extra benefits. Never in all my years in America have I ever had a doc charge to fill out or sign paperwork.
Wait times to see a specialist can take months or ever over a year! Where is the compassion in making someone suffer for such a prolonged period of time while waiting for the medical attention that they deserve? In the U.S. I have never had to wait more than three days to see a specialist. Now I know someone who did have to wait months to see a cancer specialist in the States, but as a follow up after their surgery.
Wait times in hospitals is a problem also. Where I am from in the past we had long wait times, but this has long since been dealt with and wait times in my home town are now like Zero to 15 minutes.
So to all you American out there who think the Canadian healthcare system is nirvana and a model for the U.S. to follow... be careful for what you wish for. Because now that I have been to Canada, I would take the American medical institution with all its flaws over the Canadian healthcare system in a heart beat.
The American system does have its share of problems... for example, if my memory serves me right, in the last Presidential election, it was said that there are up to 40 million Americans who are under-insured or lack any insurance. This is definitely a problem.