Right Thinking From The Left Coast
If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough. - Mario Andretti

Private Hosercare
by Lee

Later on this year Michael Moore will release “Sicko,” his look at the American healthcare system.  In this film he will undoubtedly, as he has done for years, extoll the virtues and the compassion of the Canadian system.  The only problem is that the Canadian system doesn’t work, and to supplement its failures Canadian doctors are turning to eeeeevil free market capitalism and private insurance.

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.

Dr. Day, for instance, is planning to open more private hospitals, first in Toronto and Ottawa, then in Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton. Ontario provincial officials are already threatening stiff fines. Dr. Day says he is eager to see them in court.

“We’ve taken the position that the law is illegal,” Dr. Day, 59, says. “This is a country in which dogs can get a hip replacement in under a week and in which humans can wait two to three years.”

Oh wait, it gets better.

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 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.

Last December, provincial health ministers unveiled new targets for cutting wait times, including four weeks for radiation therapy for cancer patients beginning when doctors consider them ready for treatment and 26 weeks for hip replacements.

Now, call me crazy, but even your average heartless HMO here in America will provide superior care than that.  The problem is that HMOs are private, whereas government is public, so in the mind of Mikey and those like him the government is more compassionate, even when delivering inferior care.

Posted by Lee on 02/27/06 at 09:01 AM (Discuss this in the forums)

Comments


Posted by on 02/27/06 at 10:32 AM from United States

The problem is as always--Michael Moore can afford healthcare ANYwhere in the world he wants to go.  All he has to do is pay for it out of his bank account. 

This has a serious tendency to skew one’s opinion.  “But, for the REST of you, government healthcare is the answer!”

And, it probably should be.  But, it fails even more miserably.  And, that’s just GETTING the healthcare.  Not even considering the QUALITY of it, by comparison to private healthcare.

Posted by on 02/27/06 at 10:47 AM from United States

Nobody in their right mind really wants the government involved in healthcare any more than it absolutely has to.  While universal coverage really sounds like a peachy idea (really, not having health care is scary), there are more ethical and logistical problems than its proponents are willing to acknowledge.

Government run healthcare will eventually end up like any other government function:  rife with corruption, overloaded with red tape, horribly inefficient, and eventually run soley for the purposes of giving desk jockeys a paycheck regardless of their actual “work”.

You’d end up going to black market private clinics for anything more serious than a few stitches or getting a bone set.

Posted by on 02/27/06 at 11:17 AM from United States

Any real honest Canadian will admit freely that their system is almost totally fucked at this point...much of it due to their open borders.

Our location has advertised for an opening in our professional ranks in the region.  60% of the applicants are Canadian foreign nationals of Indian or Pakistani origin who got their Canadian Hoser card and are looking to skip to the US.

We’ll end up the same way if we’re not careful.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 02/27/06 at 11:40 AM from United States

Cross-posted from my own blog:  My dad is a general surgeon.  We would have women come in who’d found a lump in their breast.  Within a week, maybe two, he could get them on a surgical table, excise the lump, have it x-rayed and biopsied while they were still on he table, then, if necessary do a modified radical mastectomy right there.  From scared woman moment in the shower to woman on the road to recovery was a matter of days, not weeks (or months).  I don’t know any health care system in the world that can match that.

In fact, I remember when the Canadians were talking about phasing about routine Mammography for women.  Because it’s not “cost effective”.

Posted by on 02/27/06 at 11:43 AM from United States

yeah, that whole cancer waiting period is bs.  my mom felt a tumor in her abdomen, saw the doctor the next day, and had surgery the next day.  after she healed from surgery she started chemo, which was a total of 2 weeks.  so she went from diagnosis to surgery to chemo in a total of 3 weeks.  in canada she’d probably still be waiting and would likely be dead.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 02/27/06 at 11:47 AM from United States

And don’t think for a second we wouldn’t go Canada’s route if we socialized medicine.  Regarding the breast cancer treatment above, i spent a decade fighting to get Medicare to pay for it.  They didn’t want to pay for the biopsy.  They would rather the doc do the biopsy, send the patient home, wait a while, then bring them back for the mastectomy.

And that’s just one of several numbskulleries.

Posted by on 02/27/06 at 11:59 AM from United States

The US pays more so many of the best Canadian physicians (and other professionals) come down.  This is good for us and bad for Canadians but not the cause of their healthcare problems.  The cause is government.  We could improve our system but it should not involve the government taking over.  We also cover much of the cost of Canada’s and the rest of the world’s research and development costs in health care.

Posted by on 02/27/06 at 12:39 PM from United States

Many of the “fatal flaws” of the US system could be helped if we had less government regulations.  Currently, insurance has to offer certain services which inherently push the price up (every time someone dies of something not covered, someone says, “there oughta be a law”, and politofairy makes it so).  If they had the option of offering more minimal coverage or more flexible options, you could see costs come down and more tailored coverage become available.

Posted by on 02/27/06 at 01:17 PM from United States

Six months for a hip replacement? Forty weeks for an orthopedic referral? What, people are expected to simply hobble around for close to a year? WTF?

They’re obviously hoping you go away.

Posted by griz_the_conservative on 02/27/06 at 03:43 PM from United States

Gripe,

“They’re obviously hoping you go away.”

To be specific, they are hoping you DIE.

--Griz

Posted by on 02/27/06 at 04:33 PM from United States

I give you a look at the US system.  My husband had a yearly physical in august.  PSA came back high.  Was referred to a urologist.  Goes to urologist and told will need prostate biopsy.  Goes for biopsy. Goes to urologist and gets cancer diqagnosis.  Told will need bonescan. Has bonescan. Goes to urologist for result.  Good news, hasn’t spread.  Husband elects to have surgery to remove protate and cancer.  First available surgery by his doctor- After July 4th.  This is at a major medical center, where he will get top notch care.  Still, it took 6 months to diagnose problem and a 5 month wait til surgery.  I am told this is not unusual anywhere anymore.  Now that I think about it, I had a 4 month wait for my eye check up.

Posted by on 02/27/06 at 05:12 PM from United States

beano,

I think there is something wrong with how you go about getting an eye checkup. I’ve worn glasses/contacts for 24 years and have never had to wait more than 10 days for an appointment.

Posted by on 02/27/06 at 05:15 PM from United States

btw beano, prostate cancer is a VERY slow growing cancer so a longer wait isn’t a huge deal in that case.

Posted by on 02/27/06 at 05:40 PM from United States

Hey Svandals,

Does being an insensitive jerk come naturally to you or do you have to work at it?  You are a fucking, insensitive, darwinian republican son of a bitch.  I bet you thought your comment was helpful.  I know, as a general rule, it is slow growing.(tell that to Frank Zappa) But, that’s all it is, a general rule.  My huband’s father died of it, so there is a family history.  He has a very high PSA and
a lousy Gleason score.  Since you are such an expert on prostate cancer, I won’t bother to explain that to you, I’m sure you know.  Even if they get it all, he’s left with impaired sexual functioning, the degree to which there is no guarantee.  I don’t care about that, I just want him, but he is devastated. It has been a hard, emotional time. You shouldn’t just blow off people and their feelings just to make a point in a discussion.
I knew I shouldn’t post a work.  Now I’m all fucked up crying at may computer. Shit

I know I’m going to feel bad later cause I called you names but right now I don’t care so much.

Posted by on 02/27/06 at 05:53 PM from United States

I don’t go to the mall for eye exams.  Nothing on earth wrong with the mall, I could get a eye exam in a week. Because, as an employee I get a discount when I go to Duke, I’ve always made my appointments there.  Unfortunately a lot of people come to Duke for all sorts of eye problems.  To have a routine return eye exam the wait is 4-5 months.
My only point is there are waiting lists in almost everything at major medical centers now.  Emergencies are one thing.  However, a emergency is in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it?

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 02/27/06 at 06:38 PM from United States

"I am told this is not unusual anywhere anymore.”

Friend of mine was diagnosed with leukemia two days before New Year’s. He was immediately hospitalized, started the chemo within a week, and is home giving himself shots to get his white count back up.

Yes, your situation sounds extremely unusual. They may have been saying that because they fucked up and were hoping you wouldn’t try to sue them.

Posted by on 02/27/06 at 06:57 PM from Australia

Public healthcare down here in Australia is becoming a joke. A recent bad experience my sister had with the system was the last straw, and I will have handed in my application for private health insurance within the next two to three days, depending on when I can find the time to fill it out. I don’t consider myself a conservative (I abhor the left and dislike much of the right. People like Lee and Sully are excellent exceptions), but I know a broken system when I experience one, and I want out.

Posted by on 02/27/06 at 07:26 PM from United States

Triage is in effect, as always.  If you have a heart attack, you will get immediate treatment.  The degree of emergency will determine the timliness of care.  The problem is more serious than private vs government insurance and the system we have now is far from ideal.  There is a severe nursing shortage and that is much as anything determines how quickly one gets into the hospital for an elective procedure.  No nurses, no open beds.  There has also been a decline of new doctors in surgical specialties in the several years.  Fewer people want to spend 6-10 years in post med school training programs and fellowships before they start making any money.
I apologize for my outburst.  I made a mistake in sharing so personal an experience.  I had no right to be upset that a perfect stranger had such a clinical response.  It was perfectly logical what svandals said.  My bad.

Posted by Miguelito on 02/27/06 at 07:46 PM from United States

Last December, provincial health ministers unveiled new targets for cutting wait times, including four weeks for radiation therapy for cancer patients beginning when doctors consider them ready for treatment and 26 weeks for hip replacements.

Damn… 4 weeks is the new goal they’re shooting for!  When you you have cancer and need radiation therapy, 4 weeks usually means the cancer will progress and can mean the difference between life and death.

Here, if cancer is found in you, they try to get you under the knife and/or start Chemo/radiation ASAP. 

4 weeks as their new goal is pathetic.  I wonder how many cancer patients have died in Canada because of delays in treatment.  Not to mention dying due to waits for any other illness as well.

Posted by mikeguas on 02/27/06 at 10:12 PM from United States

I knew I shouldn’t post a work.  Now I’m all fucked up crying at may computer. Shit

I know how you feel. I work with Microsoft products all day.

I know I’m going to feel bad later cause I called you names but right now I don’t care so much

You shouldn’t feel bad. Calling people names is a way of life around here. It’s done more for fun than anything else.

Seriously though, prostate cancer is not a good thing to have even if it is slow in spreading, and waiting 6 months is ridiculous. That’s why I have a PPO, because you don’t have to wait on someone. I bet you have an HMO don’t you? Those are modeled from the same idea as government run systems, and that’s why they suck. The cure for this whole problem is to stop putting up road blocks that reduce competition between insurance companies, and stop the road blocks that keep the price of medical school so high. I understand that people want laws here and there, so some inept idiot isn’t operating on their kid, but many of these laws are built around stifling competition, more than they are in protecting the public. Heavy punishment for ineptness (and I mean real stuff, not frivolous BS) should be the deterrent to bad medicine, not a bunch of regulations ahead of time that just drive up the price.

Posted by on 02/27/06 at 10:55 PM from United States

beano - sorry to hear about your husband’s health problem.  You are talking about a year (almost) from the time of his checkup until his surgery.  That seems absolutely absurb to me.  Way too long.  Even if it is not a serious issue to go that long as some have stated (and I have no idea one way or the other), just the mental and emotional trauma you guys are dealing with during that period of waiting has to be unbearable. 

Section 8 is right - name calling is part of the game here.  Don’t worry about that, these guys can take it.  :)

Posted by on 02/27/06 at 11:47 PM from United States

I know how you feel. I work with Microsoft products all day

Section 8, That was perfect! I had the best laugh when I read that.

I understand that people want laws here and there, so some inept idiot isn’t operating on their kid, but many of these laws are built around stifling competition, more than they are in protecting the public

Boy, did you nail that.  That form of “income protection” is one reason we will be short of surgeons in the coming years.

You shouldn’t feel bad. Calling people names is a way of life around here. It’s done more for fun than anything else.

Yeah, I know it and I admitted I over-reacted.  Its the liberal in me, I’m sooooo emotional.:-)

Rep Mom, thanks for your thoughts.  We are looking into getting another surgeon, but the earliest would be May for that one.  Course that’s better than July.
Yeah, I screwed up the formatting again, ( but I do know the scientific definion of theory.)

Posted by Lee on 02/27/06 at 11:49 PM from United States

Jesus Christ, Beano.  You press the button, paste the text, and press the fucking button again.  Any five year old could do it.

Posted by Drumwaster on 02/27/06 at 11:52 PM from United States

Yeah, I screwed up the formatting again, (but I do know the scientific definion of theory.)

*sigh*

Posted by mikeguas on 02/27/06 at 11:56 PM from United States

Lee, is there a way to add the onClick event to the to the submit button to fire the close all function?

Posted by on 02/27/06 at 11:57 PM from United States

She said she learns by watching, someone make her an instructional video.

Posted by Lee on 02/28/06 at 12:04 AM from United States

Lee, is there a way to add the onClick event to the to the submit button to fire the close all function?

It’s weird you should mention this, because I just had this exact same thought about five minutes ago.  Let me look into it.

Posted by on 02/28/06 at 02:17 AM from United States

Beano:
I know that diminished sexual preformance can be a very big concern for a married couple. But prostste removal has come a long way in the last few years. My younger bother (51) had his removed last year. He went from cialis and viagra to not needing anything.
He had his surgury at the same hospital that John Kerry had his.
Doctors have learned that the nerves need to be reattached. Hope this helps.

Posted by on 02/28/06 at 01:11 PM from United States

Mississippi Yankee,

I’m going to search the internet for more info on the surgery.  Thanks for your comments, it helps to know that some progress has been made on the surgical front.

Posted by Miguelito on 02/28/06 at 02:38 PM from United States

beano..

Honest curiosity: Is your provider Kaiser Permanente (or however it’s spelled)?

I ask because my mother (and grandmonther and even my sister for a good 10 years) has worked in the medial field her whole life.  She doesn’t work for Kaiser but has dealt with them often.  Her opinion of that system is so low it’s scary.  I hear her tell tales of people that are almost killed in that system due to waits, screw-ups, all around incompetance, etc.. then they end up where she works and are usually saved.

BTW, I agree with svaldals about the eye checkup.  I can call my eye Doc today an likely see him next week at the latest.  4 months is pathetic.  If it’s not due to a system like Kaiser, you need to change docs.

Posted by on 02/28/06 at 02:59 PM from United States

FYIW, I have had HMO’s in Kansas, GREAT!, CA, SUCKED, Missouri GREAT.

I don’t know where you are but my I have heard nothing good about Kaiser ever.

Posted by Miguelito on 03/01/06 at 02:22 PM from United States

mgnmfrc1..

I’m in CA, if you were wondering where I was.

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