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Canadian Doctor Describes the Nightmare of Canada's Health Care System

A doctor who practices in Canada details the frightening realities of socialized medicine. The information in his editorial contains the information Michael Moore doesn't want Americans to know:

I was once a believer in socialized medicine. As a Canadian, I had soaked up the belief that government-run health care was truly compassionate. What I knew about American health care was unappealing: high expenses and lots of uninsured people.

My health care prejudices crumbled on the way to a medical school class. On a subzero Winnipeg morning in 1997, I cut across the hospital emergency room to shave a few minutes off my frigid commute.

Swinging open the door, I stepped into a nightmare: the ER overflowed with elderly people on stretchers, waiting for admission. Some, it turned out, had waited five days. The air stank with sweat and urine. Right then, I began to reconsider everything that I thought I knew about Canadian health care.

A five day wait for an ER visit? This is what happens when the government takes over health care. And this is just the beginning. Take a look at these numbers:

Government researchers now note that more than 1.5 million Ontarians (or 12% of that province's population) can't find family physicians. Health officials in one Nova Scotia community actually resorted to a lottery to determine who'd get a doctor's appointment.

These problems are not unique to Canada -- they characterize all government-run health care systems.

Consider the recent British controversy over a cancer patient who tried to get an appointment with a specialist, only to have it canceled -- 48 times. More than 1 million Britons must wait for some type of care, with 200,000 in line for longer than six months. In France, the supply of doctors is so limited that during an August 2003 heat wave -- when many doctors were on vacation and hospitals were stretched beyond capacity -- 15,000 elderly citizens died. Across Europe, state-of-the-art drugs aren't available. And so on.

Single-payer systems -- confronting dirty hospitals, long waiting lists and substandard treatment -- are starting to crack, however. Canadian newspapers are filled with stories of people frustrated by long delays for care. Many Canadians, determined to get the care they need, have begun looking not to lotteries -- but to markets.

Competition via the free market is the only way to lower the cost of health care, and many other nations that currently have government run health care systems are learning this. Unfortunately, every Democratic presidential nominee is trying to dupe the American people into thinking that Canada's system is better than ours. One of the worst negatives of socialized medicine is the lack of research funding.

And if we measure a health care system by how well it serves its sick citizens, American medicine excels. Five-year cancer survival rates bear this out. For leukemia, the American survival rate is almost 50%; the European rate is just 35%. Esophageal carcinoma: 12% in the U.S., 6% in Europe. The survival rate for prostate cancer is 81.2% here, yet 61.7% in France and down to 44.3% in England -- a striking variation.

Like many critics of American health care, though, Krugman argues that the costs are just too high: health care spending in Canada and Britain, he notes, is a small fraction of what Americans pay. Again, the picture isn't quite as clear as he suggests. Because the U.S. is so much wealthier than other countries, it isn't unreasonable for it to spend more on health care. Take America's high spending on research and development. M.D. Anderson in Texas, a prominent cancer center, spends more on research than Canada does.

One cancer center in the US spends more money on cancer research than the entire country of Canada. This is what socialized medicine will do to research in this country as well, yet Hillary, Edwards, Obama, and the other Democratic presidential nominees still insist it's what the American people deserve. I don't agree. The American people deserve the best heath care system in the world, and a socialized health care system doesn't even come close.

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Comments (77)

I've been around the blogos... (Below threshold)
Paul:

I've been around the blogosphere long enough to be skeptical of everything but if that M.D. Anderson stat is true, that is freaking amazing.

But... but... but... govern... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:

But... but... but... government-run health care is better! Hillary and Mikey Moore told us so!

All they have to do is move... (Below threshold)
George:

All they have to do is move to Cuba. Just ask Michael Moore!

Mikey was on Leno last nigh... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Mikey was on Leno last night. Leno is a liberal but he had lardo stuttering trying to explain his side.

Is the Canadian Doctor Dr. ... (Below threshold)
Charles Harkins:

Is the Canadian Doctor Dr. Scott Thomas? How about some fact checking? As a 25 tear resident of Canada, this story does not ring true.

Can one of The Powers That ... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:

Can one of The Powers That Be check Charles Harkins' IP address and see if it traces back to a Canadian ISP?

Betcha the troll/sock puppet didn't know that IP addresses can be traced like that. [evil grin]

Be my guest. You'll find m... (Below threshold)
Charles Harkins:

Be my guest. You'll find me in Spartanburg, SC and I used my real full name too!!

So wouldn't that make you a... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:

So wouldn't that make you a former resident of Canada?

Yeah, a U.S. citizen who li... (Below threshold)
Charles Harkins:

Yeah, a U.S. citizen who lived and worked in Canada for 25 years and now lives back in the U.S. and doesn't give a hoot about Michael Moore, Universal Health Care or any of it, but recognizes B.S. when he sees it. The stories this non practicing physician cites do not pass the smell test. Fact checking please.

If you don't give a hoot ab... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:

If you don't give a hoot about universal health care, what are you doing in this thread?

I smell both a troll and a red herring.

It should be known that the... (Below threshold)
tas:

It should be known that the author of the op/ed piece Kim quoted is David Gratzer, a fellow at the Mahattan Institute, a "free market" think tank which receives some of its funding from Bristol-Myers Squibb, as well as notable rightwing funding foundations like John M. Olin Foundation, Inc. and the (Clinton obsessed) Scaife Foundations. Just so you all know.

You smell alright. You also... (Below threshold)
Charles Harkins:

You smell alright. You also jump to lots of conclusions. I saw something stated as a fact that does not jibe with my own experiences and pointed it out.

Of course, If this is your personal thread or is by invitation only, I apologize.

I thought your first response questioning my Bona Fides might be honest. Clearly there is nothing I can say that will penetrate your thick skull, so I'll sign off now.

The point, Charles (if that... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:

The point, Charles (if that's your real name) is that someone who "doesn't give a hoot about Universal Health Care" would just pass over an article like this.

The people who respond to articles like this are those that do care about universal health care, either pro or con.

Nice excuse for slinking off with your tail between your legs, tho. I give it 7 out of 10.

Uh, where's your proof, Tas... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:

Uh, where's your proof, Tas?

Here in the Detroit metro a... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:

Here in the Detroit metro area we are only a short bridge or tunnel ride from Canada.

Today I took my father to the doc and what do you know? There were two Ontario plates in the parking lot of the medical building.

Apparently there are more Canadians here than Mr. Harkins, and for fairly obvious reasons too.

Nor is this the first time. I'm no doctor, but I would guess that there are few medical problems that get better with a six-month wait.

Socialized medicine like co... (Below threshold)
scrapiron Author Profile Page:

Socialized medicine like communism hasn't worked anywhere in history simply because the democrats haven't been in charge of it. The only way to teach a child that a stove is hot is to let them touch it one time. When the dhimmi's die by the thousands due to lack of medical care at least 50% of them will wake up, too late. The other 50% will die (touched the stove more than once and didn't learn) in denial.

Where do our top Canadian p... (Below threshold)
BlacquesJacquesShellacques:

Where do our top Canadian politicians go for important health problems.

Hint: It ain't Toronto.

'Nother Hint for Sicko fans: It ain't Cuba.

Final hint: it's the US of A. Big fucking surprise. Our asshole politicians restrict our rights to treatment then get first class service in your country.

I hope you dumbasses do vote for Hillary/Obama out of sheer anticipatory schadenfreude. Why should you yanks have a great system while I and my family get screwed? Yay Dems. Dems forever. They'll save your cancerous asses, oh yes they will.

Jay just posted a thread th... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Jay just posted a thread that shows how liberal policies are ruining the People Republic of Massachusetts. Tas simply is doing the usual liberal tricks of distraction since he is running out of args. Using Tas arg, he should move to Cuba to get all the free socialized health care that Michael Moore recommended.

http://wizbangblog.com/content/2007/07/27/the-slaves-are-revolting.php

We were invited by Mr. Hark... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:

We were invited by Mr. Harkins to fact check the article linked. (BS Harkins says).

So I took 5 things in the article about the Canadian system and it was very easy to find confirming articles:

Nova Scotia doctor lottery:

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2006/03/16/ns-lottery-doc20060316.html

Chaoulli wins Supreme Court case - allows private health insurance:

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2005/06/09/newscoc-health050609.html

Brian Day, former Socialist and current Canadian Health Care critic elected President of Canadian Medical Association:

http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/_natlpost-a_new_day_for_the_cma.htm

Long ER waits in Winnipeg, 1997:

http://www.umanitoba.ca/centres/mchp/reports/pdfs/hcmpages/hcm_forum_vhm.pdf

Long MRI wait times:

http://www.ski-blog.com/2006/03/adam_at_highly_obsesseds_knee.html

Having found lots of confirmation, perhaps it would now fall to Mr. Harkins to find us some proof that the article is wrong.

well done Robert... (Below threshold)
Paul:

well done Robert

Wow, just wow....<blo... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Wow, just wow....

M. D. Anderson has developed one of the most ambitious cancer research programs in the world, with a research budget of more than $260 million.
Link from 2003


CANCER RESEARCH FUNDING
As Canada's premier funding agency for
health research, CIHR invested more
than $79 million in cancer research in
2002-2003, a significant increase over
previous years' commitments
Link (pdf)

I'm not an expert on Canadian health care budgets, but it looks to me the claim is true 4X over.

Amazing.

Well, I'm a Canadian and I'... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Well, I'm a Canadian and I'm proud of the principle underlying our system. The system is broken, though, as it's underfunded. The Romanow Report explains how much extra funds are needed, and with the budget surplus and our economy booming, the funds are available and will be spent in the near future. I have never waited longer than four hours for treatment, and that was only because I had a superficial problem and others were ushered in ahead of me.

One of the biggest problems is a shortage of physicians. Once our government starts paying doctors upwards of what they get in the States, more will stay. It's a better place to raise a family.

Why is the "solution" to an... (Below threshold)

Why is the "solution" to any governmental problem always to throw more money at it? And why do people not see the faulty logic in this?

Matt... I'm not trying to b... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Matt... I'm not trying to be a jerk, this is an honest question... You said:

Well, I'm a Canadian and I'm proud of the principle underlying our system. The system is broken, though, as it's underfunded. The Romanow Report explains how much extra funds are needed, and with the budget surplus and our economy booming, the funds are available and will be spent in the near future.

Again, honest question:
Putting your families well being the hands of government doesn't bother you on a visceral level? ... What happens when your country doesn't have a surplus?

Paul:What happ... (Below threshold)
marc:

Paul:

What happens when your country doesn't have a surplus?

Like after Jan 2009 when Shillary,, Schumer and the like start dismantling bit-by-bit the U.S. economy and that sends Canada's straight into the swirling poop-chute??

"One of the biggest problem... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

"One of the biggest problems is a shortage of physicians. Once our government starts paying doctors upwards of what they get in the States, more will stay. It's a better place to raise a family."

I have a suggestion that will keep doctors living in Canada.

Buy a house near the Canadian-American border. Get certified to practice medicine in the state nearest your home. Get a job in an American clinic in that state within 15 or so miles of your house. (Maybe 40, if you do not mind a long commute.

There you have it. American wages and the opportunity to live in Canada.

Huh. What?

You mean that is *not* what Matt meant when he wanted doctors to *stay* in Canada.?

Robert, Paul, I'm disgusted... (Below threshold)

Robert, Paul, I'm disgusted.

How DARE you actually do RESEARCH and bring FACTS to the argument?

This is a BLOG. You should only use name-calling, innuendo, and other such tactics!

I'm tempted to use my position as editor to delete both of you, ban you, and close down comments on this entire thread.

J.

Robert the Original<p... (Below threshold)
Charles Harkins:

Robert the Original

Robert, I'd like to congratulate you on your work. You did indeed confirm that there are problems in the Canadian Health Care System.

What I objected to was specifics of the allegation by Dr. David Gratzer posted by Kim Priestab.

First, Kim states that this is "A doctor who practices in Canada". TAS was right about who this guy is. All you have to do is Google his name. You'll find the info at:
http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/gratzer.htm

He does not now practice in Canada and there is no evidence he ever did. His career appears to be academic/political/think tank.

Second, Kim interprets what Dr. Gratzer said as: "A five day wait for an ER visit? This is what happens when the government takes over health care. And this is just the beginning." That is not what Dr. Gratzer said and there is no info in any of the articles that Robert provided that substantiates that anyone waited 5 days for ER treatment. What Gratzer said was also not entirely correct and this is substantiated in one of the articles that Robert provides on "Long ER waits in Winnipeg". What happened in Winnipeg was that during flu season, there were occassional shortage of Hospital beds and some patients were kept in the ER waiting for a bed to open on one of the floors. They were seen by doctors, they were admitted, they were receiving medical care, but they were also not housed appropriately and that was a problem. Just not the problem that we were led to believe.

There was no confirmation in any article that the ER "stank with sweat and urine". Of course anything is possible, but my experience makes this seem unlikely to me.

By the way, Dr. Gratzer did his medical training in Winnipeg at about the time of the article on long ER waits in Winnipeg. There is nothing in his bio on the Manhattan Institute web site that indicates that he ever practiced medicine. That doesn't make him wrong, but the medical degree doesn't make him right either. His allegations are not corroborated and to me, based on my experience with the system, seem unlikely or at least exaggerated.

I grew up in Canada for 23 ... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

I grew up in Canada for 23 years and been State side to 17.

The doctor's experience of people waiting days for ER service, I've heard before. However it was more like 2-3 days. As far as I know the claims are generally right. They are the extreme cases in some examples, but they shouldn't happen at all.

A little more mundane and common, when I left, was a typical 3-6 month wait to see specialists and a few months for family doctor. (I always just about laugh out loud when a doctor wants to see me in 4 months and I go to schedule it with the receptionist and they say "we don't keep appointments out that far"). And other things like 4-8 month wait lists for things like bypass surgery.

The tricky thing about Canadian Healthcare, depending on Province, is you can encase yourself in a bubble and pretend its OK if you live in the right places in a handful of key cities. The main ones being Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa.

If the US had socialized medicine you would get adequate care if you lived in the right parts of New York, Los Angeles, and Washington DC. Why? Because putting in new hospitals and equipment will get the most political bang for the buck in New York and Los Angeles. As for Washington, the politicians run healthcare would be living there. Everyone else can rot in line for service.

Another thing that gives some a false impression of Canadian Socialized Healthcare is that people still buy Health Insurance to upgrade the quality of their care. One of the things it covered was instead of a 6+ person ward for your hospital stay for surgery it would upgrade you to a semi-private room. It also covered prescriptions. When I left, prescriptions weren't covered however they were price controlled.

How do canadians know they ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

How do canadians know they are being treated correctly if what they have is all they have to compare it to? We know what premium healthcare treatment is like. We want it. We will lose it if the dims get their way. Like I said earlier, the good doctors will go into private practice with self pay patients. The rest of those that could not afford self pay will be stuck with lower ability doctors.
What do you call a medical student that received straight d's on his report card? Doctor. ww

>The doctor's experience of... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>The doctor's experience of people waiting days for ER service, I've heard before. However it was more like 2-3 days.

OH well that's much better then... LOL

In all seriousness, thanks jpm, interesting.

WW, in Ontario there were a... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

WW, in Ontario there were a handful places the super rich could use that were paid out of pocket. But otherwise, nearly everyone were forced to stay in the system. It wasn't clear to me if doctors were directly restricted or if they took any payment from the system they had to be 100% in the system. In any event I knew of no one myself who got treatment outside the system without going to the US for care.

Great example of the effect... (Below threshold)
groucho:

Great example of the effectiveness of organizations like the Manhattan Institute and their well-paid henchmen like Gratzer. Companies who have a huge vested interest in the status quo, like Big Pharm, kick in a few of their spare millions to fund a piece like the one Kim referenced. It purports to expose the evils of an alternative system when, in reality, it's nothing more than a piece of propaganda, intended to foster the myth that change is bad. It rattles around the internets and morphs into some kind of evil commie plot. Be afraid! Run away!

The system needs to change. The aging population and their needs will join the nearly 50 million currently uninsured to create a public health crisis. Gratzer's horror story of the Winnipeg ER will be played out in nursing home and hospitals across the country.

I need to clear some things... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

I need to clear some things up.

The 5 day wait claimed, to my knowledge is extreme to my knowledge. From what I know, I can believe it could happen, but is likely rare and possibly an exaggeration. I have had people tell me about people waiting 2-3 days. An more recent ex-Canadian from Quebec I work with now.

I would focus more on the core quality, though.

Extreme examples exist everywhere. Like the woman who bled to death in a hospital without seeing a doctor. Although that seemed like it had nothing to do with availability or quality of healthcare, I'm sure it will come up on healthcare comparisons for years.

The system is brok... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:
The system is broken, though, as it's underfunded.

So, we raise taxes.

Higher taxes means smaller businesses go out of business.

That means fewer jobs.

That means fewer taxpayers.

So, we raise taxes again.

And so on and so forth.

Just look at the facts and figures for yourself.

Unless you don't care about the facts.

Mr. Harkins,Thank ... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:

Mr. Harkins,

Thank you for your response.

I would have to agree that the "5 day wait for ER visit" is not specifically confirmed by the article that I quoted. This may indeed be exaggeration as you say, or not.

What is confirmed is that Winnipeg had a doctor shortage in the 1997 time period, coincident to Dr. Gratzer's time there as a medical student. Although he may, or may not, have practiced medicine as a doctor in the Canadian system, it would seem reasonable to me that his medical training and his life there would have brought him into contact with the hospitals.

It is also generally confirmed that there were long ER waits at the time Dr. Gratzer was there. As to sweat and urine, these are not smells unfamiliar to ER rooms, particularly those swamped with patients. But I will give you this one, even though we have no evidence either way.

I agree with you also that Dr. Gratzer is not currently practicing in Canada and that he has a point of view. This however does not invalidate his data or his argument, most of which - in his article at least - seem to be confirmed with the facts.

There can be no doubt that there are problems with the Canadian system - a statement with which we can both agree. These would include doctor shortages and a movement to supplement the system with private insurance - something that would not occur absent shortages and long wait times.

While I agree that there might have been exaggerations here, I would not agree that his points are unconfirmed.

Indeed, as to his general point that socialized medicine seems to lead to doctor shortages, long wait times and an absence of research, those facts seem to have been confirmed in spades.

JPM100 says:"The t... (Below threshold)
Charles Harkins:

JPM100 says:

"The tricky thing about Canadian Healthcare, depending on Province, is you can encase yourself in a bubble and pretend its OK if you live in the right places in a handful of key cities. The main ones being Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa."

That's a really good point. It's one of the problems with talking about an incident here or there and then over generalizing. That applies to my experiences as well. These (The U.S. and Canadian systems) are complicated systems and analysis requires some patience and perspective.

As for the 5 day or 2-3 day wait for emergency service, I have never heard of either. I have read headlines like "Man waits in ER for 2 Days". Like a lot of headlines it is misleading. In the body of the story you would find that the patient was being cared for in the ER while waiting for a bed on the appropriate floor. In other words, he was receiving appropriate care in an uncomfortable and inappropriate place (the ER). To me that's entirely different than the image of sitting in a waiting room and not being cared for by medical personnel for 2,3 or 5 days.

I wouldn't want to stay in the ER for 2,3 or 5 days with all the noise, lack or privacy, lack of amenities, etc. But, that is not the same as has been portrayed - a lack of medical care. If you carefully read the story called "Long ER Waits in Winnipeg" you'll see that's exactly the situation. They weren't waiting for ER service, they were receiving medical services, but were waiting for a bed on one of the floors.

Oh fer Chrissakes. Ontario ... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Oh fer Chrissakes. Ontario has extremely high taxes, yet businesses such as Toyota continue to spurn lucrative tax breaks from red states in favor of creating jobs in this socialist province. Why? Because businesses don't pay to keep their employees healthy--the employees do.

I'm not retarded. I understand that at a certain point, high taxes will harm business and everyone will suffer. I also understand, though, that the Canadian economy is growing faster than the U.S.'s, with our higher taxes and pinko health care system. Besides, we do have a two-tier system already. I recently had a hernia repaired at a beautiful private clinic in Toronto that specializes in that particular procedure. The existence of such facilities doesn't detract from the overall quality of care.

Our government has money to burn, and with our abundant resources and the eagerness of the U.S. and China to purchase them, our economy shows no signs of slowing down. Investing an extra $3 billion per year in hospitals and a prescription drug plan is not only feasible, but morally required once our baby boomers decide to put their feet up. While we'll never have certain luxuries that privatized medicine affords fortunate Americans, I can say with full certainty that we'd rather wait for two hours (it's not that bad--buy a fucking iPod or learn how to read already!) than try to wrestle with the fact that kids in our children's schools are shit out of luck if they get leukemia. Propaganda puff-pieces on American blogs aren't going to do anything to change our collective opinion, but it pisses me off because you honestly believe you're better off and this crap reinforces your opinion. While Sicko is obviously a hack job, the fundamental point--health care ought to have naught to do with profit--is sound. I work in Korea and their socialized system is pretty goddamn good. I wait five minutes to see a doctor (of any specialization), pay three dollars for the privilege, and it's never more than a couple of bucks for a month's worth of prescription meds. They've managed to fund their amazing health care system while transforming from an agrarian backwater to one of Asia's most powerful economies. I commented to a pharmacist that meds are super-cheap here, and she looked dumbfounded: "Why should health be expensive?"

Is there a good answer to that question?

Mr. Harkins,You ca... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:

Mr. Harkins,

You can go on debating yourself about whether the ER wait was 2 days or 5 days all you want. For most of us this is a distinction without a difference, and yet you go on and on.

The main point about doctor shortages and wait times is not a result of anecdotal evidence generalized to the whole:

"In 2002, more than 4 million Canadians were unable to find a regular physician".

Links:

http://chealth.canoe.ca/channel_section_details.asp?text_id=2994&channel_id=7&relation_id=3621
http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2006/08/28/doctor-shortage.html#skip300x250
http://www.fraserinstitute.ca/admin/books/files/Physician%20shortage.pdf
http://www.canada.com/national/globalnational/story.html?id=50304bc1-9c68-4cc8-8576-a57d41b508a9.
http://www.cihi.ca/cihiweb/dispPage.jsp?cw_page=media_07mar2006_e

You have yet to lay a finger on the author's main points, and I will repeat: Socialized systems lead to doctor shortages, long wait times and a lack of research.

tas, the John M. Olin Found... (Below threshold)

tas, the John M. Olin Foundation is not a "right wing funding foundation". Find some new talking points.

tas, the John M. O... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:
tas, the John M. Olin Foundation is not a "right wing funding foundation". Find some new talking points.

According to folks like tas, anyone who doesn't bow the knee to Hillary and her socialist programs must be a right-winger.

True, CCG.As an as... (Below threshold)

True, CCG.

As an aside, a couple of years ago, a friend of mine who lives in Manitoba tore a knee ligament. It took six months of waiting, during which he was on crutches, to get an MRI examination done. After confirmation of what needed to be done, it took another 8 months to schedule the repair surgery on his knee ligament. It took over a year to finally get his knee repaired - close to a year and a half before he could walk again from the original injury.

About nine or ten months into the process we explored bringing him down to the US for the work but by then the wait was projected to be short enough and he'd waited so long that he decided not to spend his own funds on the surgery. When an acquaintance of his had a similar injury, my friend talked him into just going to the US for surgery. He was walking in weeks.

Well Heck, after having par... (Below threshold)
Charles Harkins:

Well Heck, after having participated in this oh so enlightening discussion, I have come to realize that I'm lucky to be alive. Damn son, I'm embarrassed that those darn Canucks fooled me for so long. It was probably those metric clocks and calendars they use up there. Those times I waited 4 hours in the emergency room were really 4 days U.S. and well the two days I waited for angioplasty and a heart stent were probably 2 years U.S. And that ankle surgery I thought that they did within 12 hours of my breaking my ankle, that probably didn't happen that way either.

Hell, maybe I died!!! They gave me something written in French and it might have been a death certificate and I'm now on a waiting list for burial. Damn!!!

Now who is using anecdotal ... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:

Now who is using anecdotal evidence?

It was as I expected, because YOU have not had long wait times, experienced doctor shortages or had to wait in the ER for long periods, it must not be true.

Dispite all the evidence to the contrary displayed before you.

Best of luck in your state of denial.

No, honest Robert, I now re... (Below threshold)
Charles Harkins:

No, honest Robert, I now realize that all my neighbors, friends, co-workers, my spouse and children were all hiding their negative experiences from me. Here I was living in Canada's poorest Province and I was totally hoodwinked. They were devilishly clever when I visited other richer parts of Canada also. My newspapers and internet connections were all censored and they had somebody who sounded like Rush but was really a computer generated socialist duplicate. I think they planted shrubbery to hide the lines of elderly in wheel chairs from me. Believe me, I know that anecdotal evidence can't be used unless you are a non practicing Canadian doctor. Did Dr. Gratzer tell you about the alligators living in the sewer system in Winnipeg? Honest to God, I think more Canadians than Mexicans would sneak into the U.S. illegally, but they are too sick and would have to wait years to get healthy enough to make it across the border.

Perhaps you did not get the... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:

Perhaps you did not get the CBC which has carried many bits on doctor shortages.

Or maybe you never read the Toronto Sun (outlet in Winnipeg) that has run many articles on doctor shortages, here's another:

http://www.torontosun.com/News/Columnists/Blizzard_Christina/2007/07/20/4353763.html

Face it Mr. Harkins, there is a doctor shortage in Canada as there are long wait times and a dearth of research.

Admit it.

I am late to the discussion... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

I am late to the discussion, but it seems to me that Mr. Harkins have been trying to use anecdotal evidence to deny plenty of evidences provided here. People have survived even the Cuban medical system. So using Mr. Harkin 's argument, all the evidences about the disastrous Cuban system is not true. This looks to me like a distraction effort at best.

According to Dr. Gratzer:</... (Below threshold)
Charles Harkins:

According to Dr. Gratzer:

"Americans live 75.3 years on average, fewer than Canadians (77.3) or the French (76.6) or the citizens of any Western European nation save Portugal."

http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=270338135202343

For capitalists like me that's an impressive bottom line. A two year advantage in lifespan is an incredibly large number.

So maybe Doctor shortages, long wait times and a dearth of research are better for your health! Or maybe all those Canadian doctors who have emigrated to the U.S. are killing Americans with their inferior medical skills. Or maybe all the sick Canadians have come to the U.S. for treatment increasing our mortality rates.

Go figure.

Looks like Mr. Harkins want... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Looks like Mr. Harkins want to follow the Barney 's model of quoting out of context to support his biased view. From the same link and in the same paragraphs. In the end, the data shows that socialized medicine doesn't work even in America (eg. Massachusetts). Anyway, there are people who believed in Michael Moore 's utopica of Cuban socialized medicine despite the facts in any case.

Americans live 75.3 years on average, fewer than Canadians (77.3) or the French (76.6) or the citizens of any Western European nation save Portugal. Health care influences life expectancy, of course. But a life can end because of a murder, a fall or a car accident. Such factors aren't academic -- homicide rates in the U.S. are much higher than in other countries.

In The Business of Health, Robert Ohsfeldt and John Schneider factor out intentional and unintentional injuries from life-expectancy statistics and find that Americans who don't die in car crashes or homicides outlive people in any other Western country.


Go figure.----------... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Go figure.
-------------
Looks like Mr. Harkins would rather be willfully ignorant. The answer is right below if he cares to look.

Look at the next paragraph ... (Below threshold)

Look at the next paragraph that harkins can't be bothered to read:

And if we measure a health care system by how well it serves its sick citizens, American medicine excels. Five-year cancer survival rates bear this out. For leukemia, the American survival rate is almost 50%; the European rate is just 35%. Esophageal carcinoma: 12% in the U.S., 6% in Europe. The survival rate for prostate cancer is 81.2% here, yet 61.7% in France and down to 44.3% in England -- a striking variation.

Gee, Harkins, cherry pick much? That's among the more brazen cases of misrepresentation of a source that I've seen. Well, except for ... oh, I don't know ... Michael Moore maybe?

Well LoveAmerica (I hope yo... (Below threshold)
Charles Harkins:

Well LoveAmerica (I hope you don't mind if I call you by your first name), the info on mortality can be verified pretty easily. On the other hand Robert Ohsfeldt, the author of the book "The Business of Health" has factored out death from intentional and unintentional injuries and concluded that "Americans who don't die in car crashes or homicides outlive people in any other Western country." Unfortunately, I can't verify that. Were people in car crashes who survived until they reached hospital included/excluded? What about homicides? If you died a few weeks after having been shot were you included or excluded? What were the numbers? What was the confidence interval?

If we have so many more deaths from car crashes and homicides than other Western countries that the average life expectancy for 300 million people is reduced by more than two years, we should forget about health care and talk about something important.

Well, Robin Roberts, if you... (Below threshold)
Charles Harkins:

Well, Robin Roberts, if you were say pitching for the Phillies and your team had a lot of hits and you had struck out a lot of the other team, but they scored more runs, would I be cherry picking if I said the other team won? Funny how our survival rates for all these conditions are so much better but our longevity is so much less.

Yeah, I love it when you beat the other team in every statistic but the final score.

Harkins, you should try to ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Harkins, you should try to make your point more honestly than that. It is clearly one of the more brazen misrepresentation of the source as Robin pointed out.

If we have so many more deaths from car crashes and homicides than other Western countries that the average life expectancy for 300 million people is reduced by more than two years, we should forget about health care and talk about something important.
You are either clueless or trying to spin again. From the same link, the liberals in this country are advocating the Canadian socialized medicine for America. This will make the average life expectancy far worse for 300 million Americans. In the end, if you are honest, you wouldn't have done such a brazen misrepresentation and continue to spin like this.

America is right to seek a model for delivering good health care at good prices, but we should be looking not to Canada, but close to home -- in the other four-fifths or so of our economy. From telecommunications to retail, deregulation and market competition have driven prices down and quality and productivity up. Health care is long overdue for the same prescription.

Oh forget to add one thing:... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Oh forget to add one thing: the deaths of prematurely born babies are included in the statistics while in other western countries they are not included. This inflated the number of infant mortality deaths in the US for example. But we know that in the US, we have the technology to keep premature infants to survive much better. We know that socialized medicine doesn't work even in America. The Canadian system is still in trouble even when they are following the parasitical model of living off the cost of medical innovation in America. This is similar to the European/Canadian economy living off the defense spending of the US.

Since we're discussing how ... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:

Since we're discussing how we're going to measure health care, may I point out this excellent article.

I am sure Mr. Hawkins will find something to complain about in it, of course.

I'm truly sorry LoveAmerica... (Below threshold)
Charles Harkins:

I'm truly sorry LoveAmerica, but I haven't any idea what you're trying to say in that last post.

One thing I have never said is that we should copy the Canadian System. There are good and bad things about their system. More good than bad actually and we should study what's good and bad and try and draw useful lessons. It is not useful, however to misrepresent their problems or to dismiss everything good about their system with the epithet "socialism". The genius of America is in our innovation and whatever we can steal from others by way of good ideas. Ideas that can be incorporated into our culture and political system or can be modified to fit our system and values.

I haven't posted anything in years and don't know why I did now. Well that's not true! I saw a blatant attempt by a guy who should know better to smear the Canadian system with innuendo. All ER's smell the same and nobody waits for 5 days to see a doctor in an ER unless they're already dead.

All I originally wanted to do was to point that out, but was immediately challenged as some kind of agent provocateur.

The next thing you know, I started responding to everything. I don't want to be the defender of the Canadian Health System. It's a pretty good system, but I don't live there anymore and I'm generally as satisfied with the health care I get here. The funny thing is that the one thing I've had a hard time adjusting to in the U.S. is how much more paperwork is involved here than in a government run system. I'm swamped with paperwork here and never saw a piece of it in Canada.

Anyway, it's been fun. If I want to keep my health, I'm going to go make nice to my wife and promise never to do this again.

I'm truly sorry LoveAmerica... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

I'm truly sorry LoveAmerica, but I haven't any idea what you're trying to say in that last post.
-------------------------------------
Let me try to clarify a little bit more. It is fairly simple to get the statistics of death by car accidents and homocides and the life expectancy of those deaths. Substract those from the other statistics to get the results on health-care related life expectancy.

The genius of America is in our innovation and whatever we can steal from others by way of good ideas. Ideas that can be incorporated into our culture and political system or can be modified to fit our system and values.
And the evidence is that Canadian system is a very bad idea. The genius of America should not repeat a bad idea. It is that simple.

I haven't posted anything in years and don't know why I did now. Well that's not true! I saw a blatant attempt by a guy who should know better to smear the Canadian system with innuendo. All ER's smell the same and nobody waits for 5 days to see a doctor in an ER unless they're already dead.
You have provided nothing but "anecdotal" evidence. I have anedotal evidence that people have survived even the Cuban health care system. About the ER, just look at Massachusetts example, people cannot find a primary care physician now. So when they get sick, esp the elderly, where do they go if they don't have PP? They go to the ER rooms and there they waited. Not that hard to understand unless you only want to spin and to smear a Canadian doctor who publicly publish. Maybe you want to reconsider your own accusation. To me, your accusation seems to be more applicable to yourself.


LOL, wow, fun reading when ... (Below threshold)
xray:

LOL, wow, fun reading when another liberal troll has his hat handed to him. Poor fellow didn't realize the "backwoods uneducated" would serve up logic and fact to swiftly defeat his limited personal experience. Must be that fine living at the Spartanburg country club that has prevented his exposure to real life and real people. Nicely done lads.

Too bad you weren't here fo... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:

Too bad you weren't here for the fun, xray. :)

Harkins, what he is trying ... (Below threshold)

Harkins, what he is trying to say is that you don't have any idea what the statistics actually mean. A per capita life expectancy is a product of a lot of things, not just health care, as people die from things that are not health related - like homicide and auto accidents.

So if you want to go with the ignorance defense of your comment, instead of admitting that you were misrepresenting what Gratzer was writing, I'll let you.

Charles Harkins, you, unfor... (Below threshold)
FreedomFries:

Charles Harkins, you, unfortunately, took on a losing task here at this blog.

Nothing you could ever say would sway these ignorant righties who thrive on anecdotal instances that get twisted into general assessments. If that is not sufficient, they will trot out Dr. Gratzers shilling for insurance or pharmeceutical propaganda organizations like the Manhattan Institute or shit-hole think tanks like the Amerrican Enterprise Institute which published The Business of Health and also gave us all the neocon foreign policy experts? who led The Chimp into his disastrous Iraq war and that has now thrust the entire ME into a breeding ground for Al Qaeda and instability for the rmainder of the 21st Century.

These Wiz people? never stop digging their holes, regardless of what follows from their upside down vision of the world.

Bottom line here is that they don't want profit removed from Health Care, because, once they usher your unaborted body to birth, it becomes endless fodder for infinite profit-taking from your cradle to your grave while the average middle class American struggles from measly paycheck to paytcheck, one month away from bankruptcy. Greed at every turn is the rule and Canada mocks that principle.

FreedomFries, its past time... (Below threshold)

FreedomFries, its past time for you to grow up. We are discussing substance, if you can't keep up, don't comment.

FF is back to spew the garb... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

FF is back to spew the garbage from the liberal sewage. Just note FF's post. I has nothing but garbage. At least Harkins tried to make an argument (ie spin). FF simply spews garbage.

Matt wrote above: "the fund... (Below threshold)

Matt wrote above: "the fundamental point--health care ought to have naught to do with profit--is sound. "

Matt, people can't live without food, but farmers provide food only at a profit. That's outrageous! People can't live without housing, but did you know that builders make a profit? Outrageous! We can't survive most places without clothing but did you know that Walmart won't sell me a shirt without making a profit!

Basically, the idea that people are "making a profit" on healthcare is made into some sort of horrific outrage by people who are more concerned with silly rhetoric than reality. Let's not fall for more socialist cant.

FreedomFries, why don't you... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:

FreedomFries, why don't you go to your boss first thing on Monday and tell him that you don't want to be greedy, so you'll take a pay cut to precisely what you need to live on and nothing more.

Just look at the communist ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Just look at the communist utopia (in the Soviet Union or North Korea or Cuba), where profit is a dirty word or a crime, to know how well it works.

"Basically, the idea tha... (Below threshold)
FreedomFries:

"Basically, the idea that people are "making a profit" on healthcare is made into some sort of horrific outrage by people who are more concerned with silly rhetoric than reality. Let's not fall for more socialist cant."

Nothing wrong w/ docs earning a good living. But explain why insurance companies should make a profit which primarily occurs only to the extent that they can refuse to cover procedures or treatment. There is absolutely no justification whatsoever for a system that uses insurance scabs who can only turn a profit by limiting services...esp. when they reward CEOs w/ decamillion bonuses for boosting shareholder returns (more scabbing from health care) which occurs only because the insured is not getting full health care for his full dollar spent.

FreedomFries, did you know ... (Below threshold)

FreedomFries, did you know that insurance companies make a profit off of homeowners fire insurance? That's outrageous!

Workers' Compensation insurance companies make money off of how much they pay workers for their injuries! That's outrageous! And life insurance companies ... why they make money off of people who are going to die! That's outrageous!

And don't get me started about auto insurance!

If, FreedomFries, an insurance company does not meet its contractual obligations to an insured, then sue 'em. Otherwise, spare me the silly rhetoric. Because it is completely ridiculous.

FreedomFries, if you had an... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:

FreedomFries, if you had any knowledge of the healthcare industry at all, you'd know that it's not the eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil insurance companies that set the majority of what gets covered and what doesn't.

It's the employer.

Most insurance companies have "riders" or "endorsements" available for many different types of care, including acupuncture, chiropractic, naturopaths, even Christian Science Practitioners (who do little but pray over you). Each company gets to choose what types of care it wants to cover for its employees.

So don't blame the insurance companies--they're making the coverage available. Blame your boss instead.

We're supposed to be runnin... (Below threshold)
Rob Hugh:

We're supposed to be running scared now!
Kim is an idiot.
The problem is human nature. The system used for exploitation is irrevelent. Everybody knows of horror stories here in the US. The wrong limbs getting chopped off, the wrong medication being given, doctors making $40 grand for 4 hours of surgery. If it wasn't so profitable, most of them wouldn't be so rich, or well off. Getting rich off the sick is immoral. How about Hospice? Taking someone off life support should not also include not feeding them. It may be deemed as a waste of money by insurance companies to pump money into a lost cause, but thats a human life, not a money losing product or department, that can simply be shut down at will. You arrive at Hospice, they pump you full of morphine "for your pain" keep drugging you senseless, then give you a hot shot. There is systematic institutionalized murder going on in this country right now as we speak. Right under your nose, most people just don't understand what they are looking at, or will not admit their suspicions. Resportory failure or narcotics overdose? From personal experience, a family member was wrongly diognosed 7 freaking times for kidney stones before finally getting the proper diognoses in a Boston Massachusetts hospital. 7 doctors, 7 wrong diognoses. Unacceptable in a life threatening situation where time is critical. This person had a severe form Called XGP for short, and ended up losing the kidney. The stones were plainly visible on x-ray. No excuse. We we're threatened to be thrown out of an emergency room, because I got pissed when the doctor said the patient had the flu, and to go home and gargle. When I questioned the doctor, my credentials were attacked, as I am not a doctor, I certainly could not know what I was talking about. That doctor, later became the laughing stock over in Boston, when the proper diognosis was performed.

My point is, don't trash the Canadian system, there are problems all around. We have relatives in Canada who love the system.

Kim, you really need to get your urine tested.

fredomfried:No... (Below threshold)
marc:

fredomfried:

Nothing wrong w/ docs earning a good living. But explain why insurance companies should make a profit which primarily occurs only to the extent that they can refuse to cover procedures or treatment.

Ever hear of Actuary tables you fact challenged twit?

The entire industry is based on them.

BTW, FF I've got a good bargain on a multi-tiered marketing scheme if you're interested.

You seem to be a good candidate, you'll buy anything.

The Department of Oil and C... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:

The Department of Oil and Cars.

In normal times the auto companies make billions and billions and so don't think for a minute that even now, they haven't got loads of our money stashed away someplace. Even these days they are making big money producing a product that explodes, crashes, turns over and otherwise kills people.

Making money for killing people - this is immoral, not even to mention that they are killing the planet too. They are killing everything and we know they could make cars that get 100 mph if they wanted to. And this is nothing compared to Big Oil that makes even more obscene profits for polluting Earth.

Everyone has or needs a car, right? Only a few are able to work without one and those are mostly in the big cities like New York. For the rest of us, a car is required for work.

Well, what about those that can't work because they don't have a car? Who thinks about them? Who cares about them?

What we should do us take the money that is going to the Army and use it to start a new Department of Oil and Cars. We need the Army less and less as time goes on anyway, and what we should be doing is bombing from aircraft for cleaner wars.

The Department of Oil and Cars would operate the existing companies by paying them a fair amount for their shares, minus the exploitation costs of ruining the planet. Once we own the companies, it will be easy to offer a proper selection of electric, hybrid and other clean cars that can only help to fight global warming.

And the best thing is, since we are using the money that is now going to the Army, everyone could get an electric car for free and only pay a small amount to upgrade to a hybrid.

This would also give us much better control over the products. Everyone knows there are too many car models now, with too many unnecessary options. We could reduce this to a few models with standard color choices and stop things like heated seats that only waste energy anyway.

Save the planet and free cars for everyone.

And let's all agree to stop using the term "Socialism." This is only a word that is used by Republicans to win elections. The only way something can be socialist is if Karl Marx likes it, and he is dead.

We prefer to use "progressive", indicating forward-thinking and meaning more advanced and smarter than those reactionary Republicans.

This thread is a thing of b... (Below threshold)
Paul:

This thread is a thing of beauty.

Mr. Harkins got his hat handed to him so he resorts to whining and using anecdotal evidence -- it in and of itself was flawed.

Then to add a little spice, a few liberal troll came in to try and throw poo on the wall. As usual.

Robert, you get special kudos for a job well done.

Rob Hugh:One quest... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:

Rob Hugh:

One question. Are you asserting that mis-diagnoses never happen under government-run health care?

Not to mention that politic... (Below threshold)

Not to mention that political correctness in government bureaucracy results in distorted priorities such as mentioned here

I see evidence here to supp... (Below threshold)
Chris:

I see evidence here to support both systems working together. What about a socialized system for those who can't afford healthcare? I happen to be one of the small-business owners in america. I have to say I am terified at the fact that I can't afford medical for my family. We are currently not under any coverage, due to the fact that I make too much for state assistance, and to litle to afford even the lowest of medical. I'd be happy just to know I'm covered for things like broken bones, or sprains, or anything that isn't major. I can understand companies not wanting to pay for a heart transplant, or for cancer, but why should I risk everything, just to be knocked down to next to nothing becuase of a 15,000 dollar medical bill from a broken arm?
Both systems are FUKT, but all everybody seems to do is bitch about which one is better. bring the best of both together.
We combine the two in schooling...why not in medical? If you can't afford top-rate schools, at least you get a rudementory education in public school. I may have trouble with speelling and grammar, but at least I'm understandable.




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