Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Quote of the Day: "My Heart, My Choice"

"I did not sign away my right to get the best possible health care for myself when I entered politics."

~
Canadian Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador Danny Williams

HT: John Goodman

20 Comments:

At 2/23/2010 6:04 PM, Anonymous Craig said...

This has been said before, but we Americans remain ignorant of Canadian politics. Williams is the Premier of Newfoundland.

I realize that does make him a Canadian Premier, but not the Canadian Premier. Nonetheless, I'm pleased he didn't apologize abjectly.

 
At 2/23/2010 6:13 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Hmmm, even the doctors leave Canada...

He said he spoke with and provided his medical information to a leading cardiac surgeon in New Jersey who is also from Newfoundland and Labrador...

 
At 2/23/2010 10:48 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> "I did not sign away my right to get the best possible health care for myself when I entered politics."

No, but one has to ask: Did you sign away the right of EVERYONE ELSE to get the best possible care?

Does your inability to get the "best possible care" from your own HC system not suggest that perhaps the system is radically flawed?

Assuming the answer to the above is the fairly obvious 'yes', then the question becomes, "what do you plan to do about correcting that problem?"

 
At 2/24/2010 8:25 AM, Blogger James Fraasch said...

It wasn't even just about the best doctor.

His options were to:
1) Stay and wait in Canada and get a procedure where they had to CRACK OPEN THE STERNUM!

or

2) Get the heck out and get a minimally invasive procedure done in Miami where his recovery would be just over a month...no cracked sternum.

hmmm, tough choice.

James

 
At 2/24/2010 8:52 AM, Blogger Frozen in the North said...

For what its worth, the procedure that the prime minister of Newfoundland obtained in Miami could have been obtained here in Montreal or in Toronto. Obviously it would not have been free, since he is not a citizen of Quebec or Ontario, but it's available in Canada.

The issue for him was that since he's going to pay anyway for the surgery, he probably preferred having it where it was warm.

Finally, and this is the kicker of the story, if you were from Quebec or Ontario, the procedure that he received in Miami would have been free in either provinces.

 
At 2/24/2010 8:59 AM, Anonymous Lyle said...

Frozen in the north explains the issue quite well Newfoundland is a small province with only about 500,000 people. As a result health care there is likely to be somewhat restricted in scope. Note that there is a medical school in the province, but not the diversity found further west in Canada. From the comments it appears the province does not have an exchange agreement with Quebec.
So in one sense its like asking what proceedures are available in Wyoming.

 
At 2/24/2010 9:19 AM, Blogger Frozen in the North said...

There is an exchange between the provinces. However, if his Newfoundland doctors decided that their procedure, although more invasive, was also equal or better (it's there call), the province would not reimburse the patient.

I will give to Americans this aspect of the discussion; if you have money in America you can choose your procedures, its much harder in Canada (if not impossible) that is one aspect of the Canadian system that is definitely weak. That's why its called "Socialized medicine" there are costs and benefits to any system that is selected.

The current American system is much more expensive (both in absolute terms and as a percentage of GDP than in Canada) but if you can afford it, you have much greater control over your care.

 
At 2/24/2010 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally, and this is the kicker of the story, if you were from Quebec or Ontario, the procedure that he received in Miami would have been free in either provinces.

Here's the real kicker, NOTHING IS FREE!

I don't want, or need, some bureaucrat telling me which medical procedures I can opt for and where I have to have them preformed. The U.S. system is more expensive because we are free to consume all the health care that we can afford - without permission. There is absolutely nothing superior about the Canadian system - not the price of care, not the availability of care and not the quality of care - nothing. Go ahead, hit us with all the links to stories of Americans traveling to Canada for their health care.

 
At 2/24/2010 10:56 AM, Blogger Frozen in the North said...

To Anonymous 10:30

Canadians don't care what Americans think about their health care system, its only when American misuse our system failings to advance their own political agenda, that we care (a little anyway).

Yes in Canada Doctors decide what type of health care you receive, there are well publicized shortages and waiting time. What do you think HMOs do? They do select what health care you receive in America.

Finally, health care in Canada is not free, it consumes about 7% of GDP (compared to 12-15% in the US). I never implied that health care was free in Canada, there are real cost in terms of higher taxation.

It is a choice of society, this is the one we have made.

 
At 2/24/2010 12:00 PM, Blogger OA said...

Frozen in the North said...
To Anonymous 10:30

Canadians don't care what Americans think about their health care system, its only when American misuse our system failings to advance their own political agenda, that we care (a little anyway).



You have it backwards. Canadian health system attributes are being used to pursue a political agenda. The failings are used to fight against that comparison.

The Canadian health system wouldn't rate attention in America otherwise. By that I mean no one would point out the failings because it doesn't matter to those outside the system.

 
At 2/24/2010 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It is a choice of society, this is the one we have made."

This is the problem and the fundamental misconception. Societies don't decide what is in anyone's best interest. These are things that are best left to individuals rather than so called elites, politicians or the ballet box.

I'm a Canadian who would like the right to choose what kind of health-care is best for me and my family. If someday I wind up in the same position as Williams it will put me in the poor house. If I could buy insurance it wouldn't be an issue, but alas that is illegal in Canada. And there is nothing fair, equitable, or frankly affordable about that.

 
At 2/24/2010 1:10 PM, Blogger Frozen in the North said...

To: OA

My point was that Canada's health care system has nothing to do with what is on the table (Dems or Republicans)in the US. The argument is more valid with regards to Germany and France health care systems, which both use private insurance (I lived in both).

But I agree with your point, as Anonymous 12:46 eminently demonstrates.

To: anonymous 12:46

Williams had the choice of having an equivalent procedure, that was provided by the Newfoundland health care system, he decide to pay for a non-invasive procedure (you can do the same thing by the way, in the US, Dubai, Singapore and Mexico).

Health care is affordable everywhere in Canada, as it is free to the user. Personally you may not like it, but time and time again polls have shown that Canadians, by a wide margin, like their health care system.

Actually, if you live outside of Quebec, you can buy insurance, and obtain a substantial level of elective services. Only Quebec as a Cuba-like health care system. so your point is redundant.

Also "elite" gimme a break -- Canadians are not anti-intellectuals, we actually like people to be qualified and understand the issues at hand, rather than an emotional response (OK that was provocative but you started it!).

 
At 2/24/2010 1:39 PM, Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 2/24/2010 1:40 PM, Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

Frozen in the North Said "it is free to the user"

Wow...so doctors don't receive a salary in Canada? Hospital equipment is donated as is electricity and other resources to enable daily operations? Pharmaceutical companies don't pay scientists and executives to develop life-saving drugs and all this is donated to the Canadian citizen FREE of charge? Wow...I gotta become a Canadian. This sounds too good to be true!

 
At 2/24/2010 2:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds like paradise. Maybe the Canadian government can provide "free" housing, food and transportation as well. Anything to make the socialist bed-wetters happy.

 
At 2/24/2010 2:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where in Canada can someone buy insurance to cover the costs of an out of country procedure like the one Williams had?

You can buy insurance for things like glasses and dental care but that's pretty much it.

I also don't recall Canadians having a referendum on the subject of socialised medicine.

I call BS

 
At 2/24/2010 3:55 PM, Blogger Frozen in the North said...

To: Anonymous 14:56

Blue Cross is very active in the Canadian market (outside of Quebec), if you don't believe me check their Canadian website.

To: Xavier O

The Canadian health system has NO user charges. When you leave the hospital there are no bills waiting for you...Not free, no user charges. We pay heavy taxes in Canada, these taxes are used to pay the doctors.

OK this is my last post on the subject. Its been fun!

 
At 2/24/2010 5:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the blue cross website

http://www.mb.bluecross.ca/products/individual_plans/health_dental_plans

ambulance, semi-private hospital room charges, prescription drug costs,medical appliances,physiotherapy, athletic and occupational therapy, cardiac rehabilitation, psychological counselling, private duty nursing, foot care, dental, vision

Pretty short list and it looks like the guy who called BS was right.

 
At 2/25/2010 12:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blue Cross is very active in the Canadian market (outside of Quebec), if you don't believe me check their Canadian website.

Private insurance companies are allowed to operate in Canada on a limited basis following a Canadian Supreme Court ruling that found that the state run system failed to provide adequate care. The opinion stated that "access to waiting lines for care was not the same as access to care".

 
At 2/25/2010 12:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Canada's Supreme Court was scathing in its indictment of the system. "Access to a waiting list is not access to health care," the court ruled. "Delays in the public health care system are widespread . . . in some serious cases, patients die as a result of waiting lists." The court struck down a Quebec law banning private medical insurance, which should lead to successful challenges to similar laws in other provinces. While last week the court stayed the impact of its ruling in Quebec for a year, a nationwide debate on why Canada is the only country other than Cuba and North Korea to ban private insurance and private care has finally broken out.

WSJ

 

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