Mother’s Tragic Tale Underscores Big Flaws of Canadian Health Care
Do I have to post another article to remind people once again why gov’t-run healthcare is a BAD idea?? I guess so, so here it is. This is scary and why we MUST not let Obama win and force this socialist healthcare on us!!!
Mother’s Tragic Tale Underscores Big Flaws Of Canadian Health Care
By SHONA HOLMES | Posted Wednesday, July 09, 2008
TORONTO – My country promises everyone quality health care coverage that is free at the point of service and financed through taxes. But unfortunately for me and millions of Canadians, the actions of our government all too often belie that generous pledge.
Canada’s cost-conscious, government-run system wasn’t there for me when I needed it most. Even worse, it continues to overlook the most fundamental rule of health care – that patients ought to come first.
As America considers ways to reform its health care system, I hope that my experience reminds decision makers that more government intrusion in health care is a poison pill.
No one should be forced to travel thousands of miles to obtain quality care. Yet that exactly is what I was forced to do after being diagnosed with a brain tumor three years ago.
After my government told me that I’d need to wait four to six months to see a neurologist and endocrinologist, and with my eyesight rapidly deteriorating, I decided to seek a diagnoses at the storied Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz.
After a battery of tests, the doctors there told me I needed treatment immediately and advised me to return home for surgery. I returned to Canada confident that no doctor would turn away a patient in such obvious need of care. I was wrong.
Ten days later I flew back to the Phoenix area and underwent successful surgery that removed the tumor and restored my vision.
Why would someone who lives in an industrialized country with a high standard of living and a promise of guaranteed health care need to go anywhere else?
The answer – incredibly – is that Canada’s bureaucratic health care system transformed me from a human into a number, put me on a waiting list and essentially told me to hope for the best.
Free health care was indeed about money. It refused to pay for treatment outside its borders, even though life-saving surgery was quickly available a short plane-ride away in the U.S.
As a daughter, a wife and mother of two wonderful children, I really had only one choice – paying thousands of dollars, relying on family, friends and creative refinancing for an operation at the Mayo Clinic’s world-class facility nearly 2,000 miles away in the Arizona desert.
My story, with all of its unfortunate twists and turns, is relatively simple: Stay in Canada and let the government gamble with my future or journey south of the border and benefit from an accessible, patient-oriented and compassionate facility that responds swiftly to medical emergencies.
My gratitude over receiving a new lease on life has turned me into a full-fledged activist – fighting for free-market change in Canada. Hopefully, we’ll win that fight soon, so my country actually can redeem its long-standing promise of providing timely, efficient health care to its 33 million citizens.
And I hope that American voters will remember my story when U.S. candidates this year begin touting the Canadian health care system as a role model for reform in their own country.
Americans already are being blitzed with a propaganda barrage that bashes their current private-public health care partnership as little better than that of an emerging Third World nation.
Movies such as “Sicko” and “John Q,” a wave of admiringly reviewed books, newspaper pundits and cable news commentators batter Americans with a daily message that the U.S. needs to embrace a universal, government-run system similar to Canada’s or Britain’s.
What they don’t tell you is that both Canada’s and Great Britain’s routinely block or delay access to needed treatments and often treat elderly patients with cavalier contempt.
The national health care system in my country is racked by agonizingly long waits and rationing of many vital medical services, starting with a severe shortage of the family physicians who are gatekeepers of our care.
More than 800,000 Canadians currently are in long holding patterns for operations that would be done in the U.S. in a few weeks after the initial diagnosis. Sadly, many will die before they make it to the head of the line. Those who can find a way flee to the U.S. for the quality medical service so often lacking at home.
The benchmark question for any nation’s health care system is whether their citizens are forced to go abroad for quality accessible health care treatment. The answer in America is obvious.
In the decades since World War II, millions of Canadians, Europeans, Asians, Africans and Latin Americans have flocked to the U.S. for life-saving medical procedures. With few exceptions, that has been a one-way flow.
While I work to reform Canada’s creaking health care system, I sincerely hope that Americans won’t destroy a system that is the envy of the world by placing it under the yoke of big government bureaucracy.
Until Canada breaks free from the “Alice in Wonderland” absurdity of its system, droves of Canadians, including me, will join millions of others around the globe in seeking medical sanctuary in the U.S.
If your “patient-first” system begins to crumble, we’ll have no place to go.
Holmes is pursuing a lawsuit against Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, to repeal a ban that prevents its citizens from purchasing private health insurance. A video of her story is available at BigGovHealth.org, an initiative of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.