Oregon Progressive Party: Canada Shows the Way for Healthcare

Oregon Progressive Party

 

(The following was published yesterday and the Oregon Progressive Party’s website.)

by Ralph Nader

21 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare

Dear America:

Costly complexity is baked into Obamacare. No health insurance system is without problems but Canadian style single-payer full Medicare for all is simple, affordable, comprehensive and universal.

In the early 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson enrolled 20 million elderly Americans into Medicare in six months. There were no websites. They did it with index cards!

Below please find 21 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare.

Repeal Obamacare and replace it with the much more efficient single-payer, everybody in, nobody out, free choice of doctor and hospital.

Love, Canada

 

 

Number 21:
In Canada, everyone is covered automatically at birth – everybody in, nobody out.

In the United States, under Obamacare, 31 million Americans will still be uninsured by 2023 and millions more will remain underinsured.

Number 20: 
In Canada, the health system is designed to put people, not profits, first.

In the United States, Obamacare will do little to curb insurance industry profits and will actually enhance insurance industry profits.

Number 19:
In Canada, coverage is not tied to a job or dependent on your income – rich and poor are in the same system, the best guaranty of quality.

In the United States, under Obamacare, much still depends on your job or income. Lose your job or lose your income, and you might lose your existing health insurance or have to settle for lesser coverage.

Number 18:
In Canada, health care coverage stays with you for your entire life.

In the United States, under Obamacare, for tens of millions of Americans, health care coverage stays with you for as long as you can afford your share.

Number 17:
In Canada, you can freely choose your doctors and hospitals and keep them. There are no lists of “in-network” vendors and no extra hidden charges for going “out of network.”

In the United States, under Obamacare, the in-network list of places where you can get treated is shrinking – thus restricting freedom of choice – and if you want to go out of network, you pay for it.

Number 16:
In Canada, the health care system is funded by income, sales and corporate taxes that, combined, are much lower than what Americans pay in premiums.

In the United States, under Obamacare, for thousands of Americans, it’s pay or die – if you can’t pay, you die. That’s why many thousands will still die every year under Obamacare from lack of health insurance to get diagnosed and treated in time.

Number 15:
In Canada, there are no complex hospital or doctor bills. In fact, usually you don’t even see a bill.

In the United States, under Obamacare, hospital and doctor bills will still be terribly complex, making it impossible to discover the many costly overcharges.

Number 14:
In Canada, costs are controlled. Canada pays 10 percent of its GDP for its health care system, covering everyone.

In the United States, under Obamacare, costs continue to skyrocket. The U.S. currently pays 18 percent of its GDP and still doesn’t cover tens of millions of people.

Number 13:
In Canada, it is unheard of for anyone to go bankrupt due to health care costs.

In the United States, under Obamacare, health care driven bankruptcy will continue to plague Americans.

Number 12: 
In Canada, simplicity leads to major savings in administrative costs and overhead.

In the United States, under Obamacare, complexity will lead to ratcheting up administrative costs and overhead.

Number 11:
In Canada, when you go to a doctor or hospital the first thing they ask you is: “What’s wrong?”

In the United States, the first thing they ask you is: “What kind of insurance do you have?”

Number 10:
In Canada, the government negotiates drug prices so they are more affordable.

In the United States, under Obamacare, Congress made it specifically illegal for the government to negotiate drug prices for volume purchases, so they remain unaffordable.

Number 9:
In Canada, the government health care funds are not profitably diverted to the top one percent.

In the United States, under Obamacare, health care funds will continue to flow to the top. In 2012, CEOs at six of the largest insurance companies in the U.S. received a total of $83.3 million in pay, plus benefits.

Number 8:
In Canada, there are no necessary co-pays or deductibles.

In the United States, under Obamacare, the deductibles and co-pays will continue to be unaffordable for many millions of Americans.

Number 7:
In Canada, the health care system contributes to social solidarity and national pride.

In the United States, Obamacare is divisive, with rich and poor in different systems and tens of millions left out or with sorely limited benefits.

Number 6:
In Canada, delays in health care are not due to the cost of insurance.

In the United States, under Obamacare, patients without health insurance or who are underinsured will continue to delay or forgo care and put their lives at risk.

Number 5:
In Canada, nobody dies due to lack of health insurance.

In the United States, under Obamacare, many thousands will continue to die every year due to lack of health insurance.

Number 4:
In Canada, an increasing majority supports their health care system, which costs half as much, per person, as in the United States. And in Canada, everyone is covered.

In the United States, a majority – many for different reasons – oppose Obamacare.

Number 3:
In Canada, the tax payments to fund the health care system are progressive – the lowest 20 percent pays 6 percent of income into the system while the highest 20 percent pays 8 percent.

In the United States, under Obamacare, the poor pay a larger share of their income for health care than the affluent.

Number 2:
In Canada, the administration of the system is simple. You get a health care card when you are born. And you swipe it when you go to a doctor or hospital. End of story.

In the United States, Obamacare’s 2,500 pages plus regulations (the Canadian Medicare Bill was 13 pages) is so complex that then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said before passage “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

Number 1: 
In Canada, the majority of citizens love their health care system.

In the United States, the majority of citizens, physicians, and nurses prefer the Canadian type system – single-payer, free choice of doctor and hospital , everybody in, nobody out.

For more information see Single Payer Action.

One thought on “Oregon Progressive Party: Canada Shows the Way for Healthcare

  1. Dave Terry

    > “No health insurance system is without problems but Canadian style single-payer full > Medicare for all is simple, affordable, comprehensive and universal. ……..

    ……..and often unavailable

    Americans spend 55 percent more than Canadians do on healthcare as a percentage of their national economy. But consider what Americans get for the money they spend: compared to Canada, the United States has 327 percent more MRI units and 183 percent more CT scanners per million population. The United States also produces 100 percent more inpatient surgical procedures per million population, and it has 14 percent more physicians and 19 percent more nurses per million population. U.S. hospitals are newer and better equipped than Canadian hospitals, and Americans have access to more new medicines than Canadians.

    Other important facts about single-payer health insurance in Canada that are seldom reported by the pundits or politicians include the following:

    • In 1993, Canadian patients waited an average of 9.3 weeks between the time they saw their family physician and the time they actually received the treatment they needed. By 2007, the average wait time had almost doubled to 18.3 weeks. The median wait time in Canada is nearly double the wait time that physicians consider clinically reasonable.

    • The Canadian single-payer system does not cover prescription drugs on a universal basis. Only about one-third of the Canadian population is eligible for various government-financed drug programs. The remainder of the population has private sector drug insurance coverage or pays cash for outpatient drugs, just like in the United States.

    • Public drug plans in Canada often refuse to cover new drugs. On average, only 44 percent of all new drugs that were approved as safe and effective by the Canadian government in 2004 were actually covered by government drug insurance programs in October 2007. Even for the small percentage of new drugs that are covered by public drug programs, patients have to wait nearly one year, on average, after government approval for public insurance to start covering these new drugs.

    Supporters of the Canadian healthcare system like to point out that the American system fails to provide universal health insurance coverage. This is true. But it’s also true that Canada doesn’t do much better when it comes to actually delivering access to necessary medical care. Government data show that an estimated 1.7 million Canadians—in a country of around 33-34 million—were unable to access a regular family physician in 2007. Without access to a family doctor, a person can’t obtain regular primary care or referrals for elective specialty medical services.

    Moreover, that 1.7 million estimate does not include the many Canadians who have access to a regular family doctor but are on waiting lists for specialist treatment. Access to a waiting list is not the same thing as access to healthcare. When Canadians can’t get access to healthcare, they are no better off than uninsured Americans.

    Canadian patients who want to escape the delays in the public system are also barred from paying privately for healthcare services. In practical terms, Canadian patients are unable to buy quicker access or better care than the government health program provides. In this sense, Canadian patients on waiting lists are worse off than uninsured Americans, the latter of whom are at least legally allowed to use their own money or credit to buy healthcare.

    Ironically, while Canadian-style healthcare appears to be gaining support in the United States, it is losing support and legitimacy in Canada. In a 2005 case challenging Quebec’s government-run health insurance program, the Supreme Court of Canada declared the single-payer system a violation of a person’s right to preserve his or her own health. Similar cases are now underway in two other Canadian provinces.

    Ultimately, a single-payer system is probably the least effective way to achieve universal health insurance coverage. Canada has proved this in spades. The U.S. healthcare model may be flawed, but the Canadian model is far worse.

    * Brett J. Skinner is director of bio-pharma, health, and insurance policy at the Fraser Institute. He is the principal author of “The Hidden Costs of Single-Payer Health Insurance: A Comparison of the United States and Canada”

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