Some truths aboot Canadian healthcare

Yes, I spelled aboot that way on purpose as a play on a common joke around the way that Canadians pronounce the word 'about'. There has been a lot of talk lately about the US healthcare system as compared to the Canadian system. There are PSAs being played all over the US slamming the Canadian health care system trying to convince Americans that universal health care is not the way to go because it is failing miserably and people are dying in the streets in Canada. First of all, this argument is ridiculous, and second of all, I did not think that our neighbours to the south would sink so low. I thought it my duty to provide some truths about the Canadian health care system and clear up a few things:

1. People are not dying in the streets - to the contrary actually. If a homeless person is found on the street and they are unconscious or sick, they are brought the to nearest hospital and treated for free (yes, free);

2. Wait times are longer - this may be true for certain elective surgeries but is certainly not true for emergency rooms. Severe cases are treated almost immediately. If there are longer wait times for some procedures, we view this as the price we pay for giving access to the same level of care for everyone;

3. People are flowing across the border to the US for treatment - while there are some cases where Canadians go across the border for treatment, most Canadians cannot afford to do so, therefore they wait patiently for the free (yes, free) treatment they can receive at home;

4. We pay higher taxes - yes, that is true, but we also see a benefit for our tax dollars. Running a public health care system is not cheap, but there is no price you can put on the scenario where you have a child who is very sick and you can get a doctor's appointment the same day, receive treatment and have piece of mind….and all of this done for free (yes, free). This means you can focus on helping your child get better, not worrying about paying medical bills, and the doctor can focus on treating patients, not worrying about collecting money.

The Canadian system is based on the premise that everyone deserves access to healthcare and that the strong should help support the weak. Doctors and nurses should be able to focus on what they do best, treat patients. Of course our system is not perfect, we have many things we can learn from Europe and Scandanavia, but it certainly does not warrant the attacks being led by organizations in  the US looking to paint a negative picture to advance their own agenda. So much for friendship amongst neighbours, eh?

I welcome your thoughts.


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