Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Private Hosercare

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 in Health Care • Permalink

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