Monday, October 12, 2009

Canadians Speak Out Against Socialized Medicine III

Canadians have to put up with long waits to see specialists or get diagnostics like MRIs or CT scans. Now, businesses offering insurance products to help them avoid waiting for a critical test are trying to offer options, but they are finding resistance from special interests within Canada. Part III of the video series from Michigan's Mackinac Center for Public Policy: "Canadians Speak Out Against Socialized Medicine."


At 10/13/2009 11:59 AM, Blogger Ben Eng said...

US commentary continues to focus on wait times, while ignoring the following. Universal coverage means increased demand, while "cost reduction" means lower revenues to suppliers and therefore lower supply. Canada is an extreme case, banning private healthcare providers, and allowing the state to cap doctors salaries.

Consequently, it is now virtually impossible for new patients to find themselves a primary care physician. I speak from experience, as a past resident of Ontario with two physicians and a nurse in the family. A salary cap means that above a certain patient load, a doctor would be forced to work for free. Rather than do this, physicians refuse to take on new patients, and find other (non-capped) work, such as at a hospital emergency room; or take months of vacation; or work in the USA.

For most new patients, they must cope by using ERs and walk-in clinics, where they cannot maintain an on-going relationship with their doctor, and therefore cannot receive long-term quality care. e.g., to detect changes in their health by comparing against past baselines.

At 10/13/2009 6:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You would think that since Canada is a democracy that, if there healthcare system is bad, they would change it.

Sort of counterfactual that industrialized democracies--all of whom have government run healthcare--have not used their vote to change the system towards ours.

Or, maybe...nah, it couldn't be, that they, for the most part, are happy with what they have. Not to say that things can't be improved.

Just remember, these are democracies and their voters chose what kind of healthcare system they want, video notwithstanding.

At 10/14/2009 4:52 AM, Anonymous Brandon Bertelsen said...

@Ben Eng,

Your statement isn't entirely true. Canada caps the cost of procedures, not specifically salaries. Although depending on your role/position/speciality there could be caps on base reimbursements. Obviously the two are tied. But the caveat is that less time is spent with individual patients to maximize profit, rather than your position that above a certain patient load doctors are forced to work for free. The problem is that we do not have enough doctors at present to provide service to the geographical dispersion of the population. The suggestion that it is virtually impossible to find a primary care physician (a GP) is true to a degree, but must be tied to our wide geography. It's not easy to tempt a young doctor to move to god's country to work with old people for the rest of his/her life.

Suggesting that universal coverage increases demand is also not necessarily true. People go to the doctor when they need to. Do you go to the doctor without a reason? Although, agreeably cost for many in the US is certainly a disincentive to demand medical services.

At 10/14/2009 11:06 AM, Blogger Ben Eng said...

Brandon Bertelsen, perhaps salary caps are specific to Ontario. See:

Also, in support of my claim that there is a severe shortage of primary care physicians in Ontario:

"Despite the government's many efforts to
improve access to health care, between 663,000 and 879,000 Ontarians are
still without a family doctor - including almost a quarter of a million Ontarians
who are over 50 years old - according to a new poll conducted by the Ontario
College of Family Physicians (OCFP)."


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