Dear Hon. Premier and Health Minister:
The following article does a wonderful analysis of Canada vs US health care and how much more the private for-profits charge. We are being told we cannot afford the rising costs of health care in Canada, but I say to you, we cannot afford the rising costs of for profit health care with less and less service to Canadians.
This article outlines talks to doctors and the actual costs Americans face. I urge you to please protect our one-tier Canadian Health Care system and do whatever it takes to protect and improve health care for us all. After all, it is your duty as elected and many Canadian need that protecting now.
A reminder that our health care is not free actually, we pay dearly for it with our tax dollars and that is exactly where we want designated health care money to go, to health care only. Accountable is very important to Canadians as we told Romanow, and many leaders in this Country.
Please act responsibility when determining transfers to provinces, allotting funds for various types of health care services, including prevention. We have seen enough tax dollars wasted to last a life time, and that is only what we are aware of.
At the Premier's meeting, at future National and provincial meetings, remember health care is number one in Canada because everyone is covered regardless of the ability to pay. 50% of US bancrupcies are due to health care costs and we are better than that.
Thank you for your attention and I look forward to hearing back from each of you and we also look forward to a soon-to-be future meeting with our own Premier and Health Minister.
Debbie L. Kelly, Chairperson
Nova Scotia Citizens' Health Care Network
cc: MPs, Senators, MLAs
Canadian Health Coalition
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Visiting Canadian examines American health care system
Diagnosis: insurance companies are making a killing.
Dateline: Tuesday, June 22, 2004
From: Larry Day
June 10, 2004
My wife and I have recently been on vacation in the US and went to Ogden, Utah to visit with her sister. While visiting in Ogden we had an opportunity to personally meet and chat with two doctors in regards to just how the US's private medical system works. I would like to share some of this information with you.
While visiting with my wife's family in Utah my sister-in-law became very ill and we had to rush her into the Ogden hospital. The attention she received on arrival at the emergency was impressive, immediate and thorough (being the Mormon State she also received a blessing complete with sacred blessing oil which just happens to be kept on hand at the receptionist's desk!). The hospital was not very large, but it was very clean, and new. It had all of the equipment that would be needed to provide a first class health care facility. There was no waiting for anything, such as doctors, testing and equipment, it was pretty much all there and available for use at any time; very impressive indeed.
A few days later, still very much impressed by the level of health care my sister-in-law had received at the hospital, I had an opportunity to ask my brother-in-law about his Private Health care coverage. I knew health care was expensive for those Americans that do not have Private Health Care coverage, but what I did not realize, nor expect, was just how expensive health care can be for those that do have health care coverage! This is where my perception of American style health care takes a hard 180 degree turn away from that impressive hospital experience I had only just witnessed a few days prior.
He told me that, for just him and his wife, they must pay $900 US each month for BASIC insurance coverage, and, there are many health care costs that are not covered by his policy - such as the visits my sister-in-law had just made to the emergency room - $200 each time (we had to go back to the emergency two more times during our one week visit as the doctor could not get the dosage right for the medicine that my sister-in-law needed to stop the blood from pooling into her heart). Some of the medications that she needs are not covered either - more on that later. He also told me that there is a deductible that must be paid each calendar year - $2000 US. I gasped!
Now take a moment and say the following words aloud: Ka-Ching, Ka-Ching, insurance companies make a pile of cash off this health thing.
A few days later I met with two doctors at a family social gathering (both of the doctors are the brothers of my brother-in-law; one is a specialist, the other, a GP). With all of the health care challenges we are facing here at home in Canada, it is needless to say, that I was drawn to these doctors like fleas to a chimpanzee's a*s . We needed to compare notes. I must say a very enlightening conversation ensued after the usual introductions, here are the hi-lights of the conversation I had with the doctors in point form:
if you earn/make/beg/steal/sell drugs/prostitute yourself, and don't make in excess of $17,000 a year doing such activities, you qualify for the US Government's medical aid.
If you make more, you have the option (sic) of getting private medical insurance (some employers may offer medical benefits, but it is rare that they will pay more than half and usually that benefit is only extended to company executives and also what can be negotiated by unions for the membership). If you don't have an insurer (and sometimes they will not take you on), well, just let me repeat what Martha Stewart is saying right now: that is just not a good thing. You do not want to become either sick or injured in the US if you are not already tossing bundles of cash at the insurance companies for health coverage. And if misfortune should befall you, make sure that there is someone to blame so you can sue.
Now, go back to the paragraph where I explain my brother-in-law's private insurance costs and read it again; now do a little math, (ignore the get-down tonight disco tune that just went off in your head).
If you have done your math assignment, consider this: your family income is $20,000 annually (both you and your wife work for Wal-Mart; basic private insurance may easily cost you $10,800 annually. Don't forget the $2000 deductible. (I think a Wal-Mart employee may make $10,000 per year; that would include profit sharing!) So your family income is $20,000 a year; what happens now if misfortune should befall you? You make too much money for the Government program; you don t make enough money where as you can afford private insurance. So really it is: too bad, so sad, you just stepped into a big pile of doggy doo-dad.
Now consider this appendectomy scenario:
The amount an individual who does not have insurance pays for an appendectomy is $25,000. If you should qualify, I do not know what the American Health Plan would pay the hospital.
If an individual does have insurance, the insurance companies pay the hospitals $1500. For the exact same $25,000 appendectomy mentioned above! Nope, I did not just make a typo and I am not pulling your leg.
How can an insurance company lose on this deal? (Not that they should lose, but isn't being private about risk and reward?) If you are so-called lucky enough to have private insurance, it will cost you annually, at minimum, with deductible, $13,800 (all monies are in US$). The additional costs that will be incurred for private health insurance will pale your current yearly tax bill.
Looking a little further ahead: because we are in a Global economy, a Canadian may very well be looking at paying that cost at the equivalent US exchange rates! And you thought you were hurting when you walked into the hospital.
Now let's look at this appendectomy scenario further:
Say you need an appendectomy and you are insured; we now know the insurance company will only pay the hospital $1500 for your surgery. Now think about this, That is not even the amount of your deductible, so really, the insurance company does not pay a thing; you are the one that is paying the hospital bill through your deductible! What risk has the insurance company taken? Not only that, the insurance company made a wheelbarrow load of cash in monthly premiums from you, plus what you had to pay out to the hospital for those extras which are not covered by your insurance policy! (To add more insult to your injury: the insurance company may very well be a shareholder in the hospital you are in.)
So why can't the folks that work at Wal-Mart get the same deal? The twisted answer to this twisted logic is that they don't have insurance. Because the insurance companies can not become fabulously wealthy from you, via paying high premiums to them each month, they are essentially punishing you. So, with the insurance company most likely being either the owner or majority stake holder in the hospital where the poor Wal-Mart worker has to go for his/her appendectomy, what free market options do the working poor have? (Rumour Mill stuff here: I am not sure, but it was suggested to me, that in the US doctors are already making low ball bidding to the insurance company to perform surgeries, so the $1500 payment for the appendectomy may be high: Is that good or bad? I don t know).
So I ask the doctors: Are you not private? Why would the hospital accept only $1500 from the private insurance company when the going rate for an appendectomy is 25 grand? You have a private medical system, right? 25 grand is what the Bloke Just Gone Broke pays, right?
And the doctor(s) reply: Yes we are private, but that is all the insurance companies will pay the hospital.
A puzzled look comes over my face. I am going to have to think this situation over for a moment... hmmm What can I say, what can I say?... Hmmm... I've got it! A great big grin stretches across my face and I say to them with absolute conviction that is carried in the tone of my voice: You are private, tell them to pay more and that's final!
They quipped right back at me in a nauseating, droning voice: But that is all the insurance companies will pay.
Well how about the poor fellow that has to pay the 25 grand, where does all that money go? I say right back at them.
Both of the doctors just shrugged their shoulders at me.
What's going on here? Am I not presently standing in America, home of the Wealthiest Free Capitalist society, and at the same time, the poorest of poor, broken bastards who pay dearly so the wealthy can retain ownership of that capitalistic freedom? What was is it that I missed in that shrug?
But quickly my focus turns to our Health Care dilemma here at home, in Canada. My mind begins to race, my thoughts are deep, I am in a trance, thinking: I have to get home and tell the people exactly what the hell is going on down here; After all, once the Canadians learn about this, they will take up the cause and want to save our health care system. I just know they will want to save it. Okay then, I am pretty sure, anyway okay, okay, I am just kind of hoping they will. Anyways, we'll see...
All of a sudden, I give my head a shake and come out of my trance-like thought, while at the same time blurting out a statement of conviction and determination, with that very same conviction and determination that Moses must have used to part the Red Sea: All be damned, Canada's Universal Health Care system shall be saved! Set my people free!
Oops! Lost my head there, I was still at the family party; not that anyone outside of Canada really pays attention to what a Canadian has to say anyway.
But, out of the corner of my eye, I did notice one of the American relatives leaning over, with the hand partially covering the lips (I suppose just in case I lip read), quietly murmuring to the person sitting next to them: he ain't a blood relative, just a goofy socialist from Canada.
I can hear what you're saying , I snidely retort.
Thanks for allowing me to indulge myself in the relating of this information. More importantly, I am attempting relate that we should not be fooled, again, by the Privateer/Mega-Capitalists and their agenda for the privatization of the Canadian Health system (regardless of what the wolf-in-sheep's clothing Paul Martin might say).
Their ultimate goal is for E-V-E-R-Y T-H-I-N-G imaginable, and unimagined on this planet Earth to be transformed into, or turned over to, the hands of private multi-multi-billion and trillion dollar companies. EVERYTHING is to become a commodity, to be bought, sold and manipulated on the (only if you are wealthy enough) open market, and thus being what the Privateers believe: a truer reflection, arguably, of the ebb and flow (supply and demand) of open markets and economies (which is also known as the Commanding Heights).
Corporations are already working on laying ownership/claim to the orbital areas around the Earth (Bush has recently called Astronauts Astral Entrepreneurs!), not stopping there but also making claim to the Moon and Mars. So how will they enforce these claims? Most likely it will be with private armies who own the superior weaponry needed to make the enforcement stick. The tragic situation in Iraq is already reflecting some of this with Private Armies.
One last thing: a prescription that I could not get filled here before I left for the USA - in Canada I get 90 pills for $15 Canadian; in the USA, for the same prescription (except that it was only 30 pills) cost $105 US.
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