Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE
The Canadian Healthcare system does not offer us a better option. We are told Canadians are happy with their system. However, only 20% of the potential patients use the system at one time. When Canadians need Immediate care they often come to the U.S. and pay cash for their treatment rather than face the lines resulting from rationed care.
“*Canada has one-third fewer doctors per capita than the OECD average. "The doctor shortage is a direct result of government rationing, since provinces intervened to restrict class sizes in major Canadian medical schools in the 1990s," Dr. David Gratzer, a Canadian physician and Manhattan Institute scholar, told the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee on June 24.”
Many Canadian physicians have come to the United States to practice medicine in the last 20 years.
“ Some towns address the doctor dearth with lotteries in which citizens compete for rare medical appointments”.
Massachusetts’ universal healthcare system has failed. In Massachusetts there is an overwhelming shortage of Primary Care Physicians. Patients are trading or selling physician appointments in many small towns.
Canada has the same horror stories. Eighty percent of Canadians are not sick. They feel their healthcare system is fine.
There are many deficiencies in Canada’s single party payer system that are not advertised by politicians in the U.S. that want a single party payer.
"In 2008, the average Canadian waited 17.3 weeks from the time his general practitioner referred him to a specialist until he actually received treatment," Pacific Research Institute president Sally Pipes, a Canadian native, wrote in the July 2 Investor’s Business Daily. "That’s 86 percent longer than the wait in 1993, when the [Fraser] Institute first started quantifying the problem."
* This includes a median 9.7-week wait for an MRI exam, 31.7 weeks to see a neurosurgeon, and 36.7 weeks – nearly nine months – to visit an orthopedic surgeon.”
These waiting times are rationing of care. Patients have sued the government and the Supreme Court ruled in favor of patients.
“ The Canadian supreme court justice Marie Deschamps wrote in her 2005 majority opinion in Chaoulli v. Quebec, "This case shows that delays in the public health care system are widespread, and that, in some cases, patients die as a result of waiting lists for public health care.”
The healthcare debate in the U.S. is not about improving the health of Americans. It is about shifting the control over the healthcare system to the government from the private sector.
If healthcare reform was about improving the health of Americans, our politicians would be focusing on how to decrease our mortality and morbidity rate due to the major chronic illnesses, how to decrease the abuse of the healthcare insurance industry, how to decrease the waste of defensive medicine, how to get people insured that are refused insurance with pre existing illness and how to give people incentives to keep themselves healthy.
These are the major issues. There is no need to have to take over the healthcare system. The government should make the rules, level the playing field in favor o the consumer, let the consumer drive healthcare and then get out of the way.
It is not the consumer. It will be the government bureaucracy, the healthcare insurance industry, and the pharmaceutical companies.
It will be the government having control over the public and its ability to choose its healthcare. It will increase government’s dominance over our lives and our freedoms.
Is this what Americans’ want?