Hey all, I've been watching this discussion with some interest. Someone was asking about the Canadian system. This explanation of our system and its history from Wikipedia is pretty good:

Healthcare in Canada

In 2002, the Romanow Report on healthcare was issued. This 392 page report was commissioned to make recommendations on how to improve the system in Canada. It was paid for by Canadian tax payers. To my knowledge, it has been largely ignored by our government. I could be very wrong about that.

One thing of interest, when Paul Martin Sr. first tabled a national hospital insurance plan in 1957, the main objectors to this idea were virtually the same as those in the United States: doctors, insurance companies and big business. In 1960, the Canadian Medical Association spoke out against publically funded healthcare. In 1966, Medicare was formally adopted by the Liberal minority government, with support from the New Democrats as the "tie-breakers" in Parliament, with the government covering 50% of costs. In 1978, doctors began "extra-billing" (i.e. charging fees on top of what the government paid them for covered services) to increase their incomes. This practice was banned in 1984 when the Canada Health Act was passed.

Pharmaceuticals are not currently covered beyond individual provincial programmes (i.e. Trillium here in Ontario) designed to help lower income people, those on disability and those with catastrophic med costs. Dental is also not generally covered beyond whatever employer benefits people might have.

Our healthcare system does have problems; problems that I truly hope they are working hard to overcome. However, I can categorically state that had we not established Medicare in 1966, my father would have died, I am certain, because my mother would not have been able to pay the bills for his increasing health problems beginning in 1967. I would not have the sister that I've been so frightened for lately and I would not have my two beautiful nieces in my life. I'm sure that many families here can tell similar stories, but my entire family (pretty much bar none) has benefitted from our system and the fact that we do not have to pay for our healthcare beyond whatever provincial levy there is (which is generally covered by employers here in Ontario). Our Premiers keep insisting the feds give them more say in things (and less accountability for how our healthcare transfer dollars are spent), and every time the feds give in to them, things get worse. At least, that's how it appears to me. Sometimes, someone has to hold the reins lest the team run rough shod over everything.

Regardless, as a rule (for the most part), the government does not dictate what we can or cannot choose as a treatment (unless it is experimental or has not been proved to the satisfaction of Health Canada). I might have to wait an incredibly long time in ER (depending where I am and most of you have heard my rants on the state of downtown ERs), but I cannot be turned away because I have the wrong insurance or no insurance at all.

Anyway, I'll shut up now and listen again for a while.

Warm hugs,
_________________________
Kat

A life lived in fear is a life half lived.
"Strictly Ballroom"