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How does healthcare in Canada work?

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How does healthcare in Canada work?

Postby arkwright37 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:36 am

I am just wondering how it works so you can go to any doctor you choose and the goverment takes care of it also if you need to see a specialist how long does it take down here in the states we hear about Canadians that have died waiting to see a specialist or get a ct scan how does it work with perscptions do you just go to Walgreens and you get it for free also what about dental and I also heard Canadians can come to the USA to get treatment if the wait is to long
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How does healthcare in Canada work?

Postby diederich61 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:50 am

Each province handles health care and what is or is not covered in their region. There is a "basic" required coverage that is mandated at the federal level, and then each province can add to that coverage. For example, in some provinces, I believe there is no dental coverage at all, while some cover children up to age 12 or age 16.

Here's what happens:

When you are born or move into a province, the government issues you a healthcare card. Whenever you go to a hospital or clinic, if the service being requested is covered by universal healthcare, they ask you for your card. They scan it like a credit or debit card, and then you see the doctor. If the doctor feels you need tests, they authorize them. If they think you need to see a specialist, they recommend you to one. You don't pay anything for the visits. Only for any "special services", such as if you took an ambulance to the hospital, if you requested a private room, if you took the TV rental service for at your hospital bed.

For prescription drugs, that is a bit different. Where I live (Quebec), if you need medication, the doctor prescribes it. You bring that to the pharmacy, and you get the prescription filled. If you do not have a private drug insurance plan, you are covered by the public insurance plan. For that, you pay an annual deductible, plus a certain percentage of the drug costs.

So who pays for the universal healthcare? All Canadians who pay their income taxes. We have 34 million people in Canada. Let's say 28 million of those are paying taxes and the others are unemployed or on welfare. If all 28 million pay $20 a year toward healthcare, that's $560 million in the healthcare "pot". Now not all 28 million will get sick or need a doctor each year. Let's say 20% of the taxpayers did, and 40% of the 6 million others did. That's only about 8 million people. And if the average cost of treatment was $500, that is $400 million spent on healthcare. So a $20 investment by everyone helps prevent one family or person from having to shoulder these costs themselves. And it prevents us from sending another person into bankruptcy and ending up on welfare or homeless, which would ultimately turn contributors to society into burdens on it.

Americans hear the stories of how Obamacare will increase your taxes and add to the homeless issue and so on. Most of that propaganda is coming from the "healthcare-for-profit" lobbyists, the pharmaceutical companies that are making billions of dollars pushing expensive name brand drugs when generic alternatives are available, the insurance companies that are making a mint off doctor's malpractice coverage, or your personal medical insurance that ends up being cancelled the moment you get sick because they claim it was an undisclosed "pre-existing condition". With 300 million people able to cover the costs of healthcare, that's a lot of buying power! And it means you don't have to pay a lot extra taxes to see a big benefit. Taxes could even go down if the insurance and drug companies no longer get to charge whatever they want.

You also hear about people dying while waiting for surgery or to see a specialist. I'm not saying it does not happen, as there are flaws in the system. Canada's healthcare is not perfect. There are indeed long wait times for some services. But a lot of that depends on if you have a family doctor or not (who can expedite your case if they feel it is urgent), and whether your problem is correctly diagnosed.

Here's an example: My father nearly died from a heart attack. He had no family doctor, no history of heart problems. He felt tightness in the chest a few times so wanted to have it checked out. He requested at a clinic to be tested for heart disease in September 2002, and they scheduled him for a stress test and ECG....in April 2003! In March 2003, he was rushed to the hospital with a heart attack and had to have a stent inserted. He spent a week in ICU. The thing is that now when he goes to the hospital for anything related to high blood pressure or chest pains, he is IMMEDIATELY admitted because of his past history.

Now in the States, he would have had to pay for the initial visit, and they may have ordered a bunch of expensive tests, and they probably would have found the issue, but we would also be paying the large medical bill, probably well over $5000. And today he would be deciding which medications he can afford to take (he takes 19 pills a day now) and which ones he would have to skip because they are simply too expensive for him to afford on his pension.

Canadians can indeed head to the States to seek treatment. This is possible if they can afford to pay for it themselves, if they have private insurance, or if the service is unavailable in their home province.
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How does healthcare in Canada work?

Postby constantinos15 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:57 am

Each legal resident in Canada belongs to an insurance pool in his province of residence. The insurance fees are paid by taxes, with a small monthly fee, about
$30, in some provinces.

Each person eligible for healthcare in Canada gets a provincial healthcard. You can see any doctor without charge if you have such a card, inside the province. If you need to go outside the province for care, you need permission. Cards are valid for emergencies in other provinces.

Last time I needed surgery, I got it in two weeks. I might have waited longer for elective surgery such as a knee replacement. The stories about people dying waiting for treatment are a Tea Party concoction.

Prescriptions are not usually covered until the age of 65. Dentistry is not covered.

For some people in Canada, the US is our private system. Great place to get cosmetic surgery, for example.

In a few cases, Canadians may go to the US for, for example, proton beam radiation for rare diseases. In that case the provincial plan pays. It's cheaper to pay for the expensive treatnment than buy those machines for a population ten times smaller than the US.

If you are a Canadian resident, you are safe for life, you will never be refused treatment. Canadians actually live longer than US residents at a cheaper cost per head..
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How does healthcare in Canada work?

Postby abban77 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:06 am

Canadian health care works on a triage system.

You can see any family physician you want. If you need to see a specialist, you are referrred to a specialist. The wait time depends on how urgent your condition is.. If you need an MRI immediately, you get one immediately. If you don't, you wait. Nobody dies waiting to see a specialist.

Drugs are not free. Dental is not free. They are not covered under the health care plan.. Medical treatment and the cost of hospital services (inpatient, outpatient, lab, x-ray) are all covered under the plan..
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How does healthcare in Canada work?

Postby lonn70 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:19 am

"here in the states we hear about Canadians that have died waiting to see a specialist or get a ct scan"

Of course you hear that. Not trying to be mean but there does exist a mindset in the USA that unless it is 'Made in America' it is crap and that all other countries pale in comparison to the USA - no other country is allowed to be better, in anything. That the mindset, facts be damned.
I'm not condemning it, I'm merely saying that is the way things are - correct?

Let's be reasonable, there are not people dying in the streets or outside hospitals waiting for treatment - Canada is not third world.

"How does healthcare in Canada work?"

As a citizen of BC my Province is reponsible for healthcare.
I am issued a 'Carecard'... being employed I pay x amount of dollars in taxes that is taken off my paycheque. If I was unemployed, a single mom with little income - I could apply to pay little or zero towards healthcare, yet it would still be provided - subsidized by people like me who do pay.

If I have a health concern I go to my doctor or ER, and I pay nothing.

"also what about dental"

Dental is not covered by healthcare, like in the USA if I want dental coverage I have to get Dental Insurance.

"and I also heard Canadians can come to the USA to get treatment if the wait is to long"

Canadians don't have to go to the USA for treatment - if they don't like the wait. Private clinic exist in Canada that bill for services rendered. Or yes, they can go to the States and also seek private treatment down there.

"perscptions do you just go to Walgreens"

Prescriptions are not covered by healthcare unless you are poor and apply to have such things taken care of for you.

" if you need to see a specialist how long does it take"

Depends. If it is life threatening you don't wait - you go to the front of the line instantly.
If it is not life-threatening you might have to wait while people sicker than you get treated first... and as stated if you don't like the wait you can simply pay for it yourself.

Fact is our medical coverage and how we look after ourselves [eg ensuring everyone has access] gets rave reviews worldwide [except in the USA who seem to have a bias against it]

The Economist magazine again has ranked three Canadian cities are among the world's top five most livable cities, Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary made The Economist magazine's 2012 list released earlier this week. The survey ranks 140 cities based on a number of factors, including health care, stability, culture and environment, education and infrastructure...

Canada best G20 country to be a woman; Policies that promote gender equality, safeguards against violence and exploitation and access to healthcare make Canada the best place to be a woman among the world's biggest economies, a global poll of experts showed on Wednesday.
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How does healthcare in Canada work?

Postby dwaine48 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:32 am

"Canada's publicly funded health care system is best described as an interlocking set of ten provincial and three territorial health insurance plans. Known to Canadians as "medicare", the system provides access to universal, comprehensive coverage for medically necessary hospital and physician services."
Link - http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hcs-sss/index-eng.php

The government of each Canadian Province & Territory is the health insurer for its residents.
It issues health insurance cards to their residents as proof of coverage.
Here in the Province of Ontario, ours look like this:
Link - http://www.health.gov.on.ca/English/providers/pub/ohip/physmanual/graphics/enhanced_card_security.gif

When a Canadian needs care, we present our health cards at hospitals, clinics and doctor's offices.
They validate the cards, and that's that. No piles of paperwork to fill out like in the US.

We get the care we need, the bills go to the government of whatever Province or Territory the patient is a resident of.
In general terms, what's covered sums up as this:

-All neonatal, preventive, primary, emergency, diagnostic, rehabilitative & follow up care.
-All of it provided without limit or limitation.
-All of it prepaid by taxation regardless of preexisting condition or personal ability to pay.

By law, coverage extends nationwide everywhere we live or travel in Canada.
It extends outside of Canada for emergency care during business or vacation travel.
And also for situations where medical-necessity requires a top specialist or procedure not available in Canada.

Unlike managed care systems in the US, we choose our own doctors, clinics & hospitals.
We're not limited to lists of so-called "authorized providers" like most Americans are.
Also: doctors here aren't government employees and hospitals aren't government-owned.
Doctors are same as in the US: in business for themselves, in partnership with doctors or nurses to run clinics, or employed by hospitals.
And Canadian hospital are non-profit corporations same as US nonprofits are.

Contrary to US myth, our Federal government's only role in healthcare is funding & regulatory oversight.
And in relation to tax revenues, payment isn't tied to an individual's personal income taxes, but all Provincial & Federally collected revenues.

There's no wait times for emergency care, only for elective (non-emergency) care.
Even then, Canadian law requires that elective care be provided in a "a timely manner."
So unlike the US, there's mechanisms in place to identify, target and reduce wait times.
And contrary to US myth, Canadians don't all run to the US for healthcare:
Link - http://articles.marketwatch.com/2012-08-09/commentary/33111026_1_canadian-system-single-payer-medical-system-medical-care
We're also not taxed to death, either. We pay few taxes per person than Americans:
Link - http://gregmankiw.blogspot.ca/2010/03/taxes-per-person.html

Prescriptions dispensed by hospital pharmacies to hospital patients are covered.
Ordinary prescriptions from a family doctor aren't.
That being said, employer benefit plans typically cover the costs for their workers.
And Provincial/Territorial government have their own programs to deal with drug costs.
This is Ontario's to give you an idea of what it does:
Link - http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/drugs/programs/odb/opdp_trillium.aspx
Dental and eye care are likewise covered by employee benefits or social services.
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How does healthcare in Canada work?

Postby moses » Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:38 am

Don't believe anything you hear in the States about our system, your culture thrives on misinformation. There are no death panels here, no one dies waiting years to see a specialist, very few Canadians go to the US for care, etc etc. And we don't have a system where relatives have to beg online for money to pay their loved one's medicals bills, as happened after the Aurora shooting in Colorado. That would never happen here. My Mom had her hip replaced, she waited all of 2 weeks, would have been sooner but they wanted to do some more tests. Her follow up care was free. My aunt who has osteo fell, she was operated on the same day to repair a shattered bone. I have gone to emerg. and been seen within half an hour. I can make a doctor's appointment and be seen within days, sometimes the same day if needed. Very little of what you hear in the US or see online about our system is true.
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How does healthcare in Canada work?

Postby dermot » Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:43 am

no wall greens here yet,we pay for meds.
sometimes it can take a long time to see a specialist.
we pay for dentist and eye dr
some Canadians come to the usa and pay themselves.
to see a dr yes govt covers that.
but we pay high taxes to
more for eggs,bread and milk
like 2.50 eggs doz
bread 2.50 a loaf
milk 4.50 gallon
and gas is like 4.88 a gallon now
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How does healthcare in Canada work?

Postby jerrah23 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:52 am

Extremely poorly compared to most of Europe.
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