canadiancomment

Our opinions and advice to the world. Updated whenever we get around to it.

Competition

How many times have you seen Reader's Digest quoted on a blog? Never you say? Well consider this your lucky day because I'm going to do just that.

I was reading Reader's Digest today at the gym and their latest issue has a couple of really good articles on the state of Canadian healthcare. My favourite was "Maybe Competition Is The Answer' where they compared the differences in a health care survey between Canadian and American hospital administrators. Unfortunately the article isn't available online so I'm going to have to provide the quotes. As a nod to Reader's Digest I suggest you go out and buy the April 2005 issue if you're interested.

Anyways onto the numbers.

To the question 'How often their patients had to wait six months or more for elective surgery?' the percentages that responded with 'often' or 'very often' were:

Canada: 33%
United Kingdom: 57%
New Zealand: 42%
Australia: 26%
United States: 1%

To the question 'What's the average waiting time for a 50-year-old woman with an 'ill-defined mass in her breast?' the percentages that responded with 'three weeks or more' were:

Canada: 21%
United States: 1%

To the question 'How long does it take for a 65-year-old man to get a routine hip replacement?' the responses for 3 weeks or less were:

Canada: 3%
United States: 86%

There were plenty of other survey question mentioned but I particularly loved this quote:
If U.S. hospital administrators don't have to worry about waiting lists, what does concern them? In a word: competition. Asked whether they feared losing patients to other hospitals, 88 percent of Canadian hospital administrators said 'not very' or 'not at all'. Only 36 percent of Americans were similarly blase.

Concerned about losing patients to free-standing diagnostic or treatment centers? Seventy-seven percent of Canadian hospital administrators weren't versus only 18 percent of the U.S. counterparts.

Get the picture? in Canada, hospital administrators can't imagine losing patients. In the United States, hospitals fight to get them. If you were a patient, which system would you want?
Indeed.

The last question I'll provide the results to was 'What is your overall satisfaction level with the health-care system?' the responses for 'very satisfied' or 'somewhat satisfied' were:

Canada: 93%
United States: 51%

Those responding 'not satisfied at all' were:

Canada: 0%
United States: 6%

As the article concludes:
Isn't that just typical? Our system is underperforming badly, yet we're oversatisfied with it.

Granted, the American health-care system isn't universal. Though most people get very responsive care, millions of others are left out - to which the blindingly obvious solution is not to scrap a very responsive system but to find ways to make it responsive to the entire population. For all the U.S. - bashing talk about the evils of 'cheque-book health-care,' the United States is one country at least where waiting times are not a problem.
It's certainly something for Canadians to think about the next time they debate health-care.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hate to burst your bubble but the U.S. has 45 million people without helth insurance. I am sure you dont know what it is like to not have insurance and instead of seeing a doctor you have to go to the emergency rm. But that is for emergencies so for routine care or non ER cases where do you go? The U.S. spends over three times the amount PER PERSOn than any other country and 40 countries have lower infant mortality than we do. Also 45 countries have higher life expectancy.we are not getting our moneys worth and everyday it gets worse. There is no way it can continue with rates raising double digits every year.

Anonymous said...

The reason why the US spends more money on health care is because they spend piles of money on R&D. What does Canada or The EUrinal invent these days when it comes to medicine? 90% of the advances in medicine come from the US.

The US's infant mortality rate is a myth.

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0305/medicine.men031105.asp

Dana said...

Thanks for posting the article. I remembered reading that a while back but I couldn't remember who wrote it.

Great minds think alike.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but you are wrong and it is not so expensive because of R&D that is the excuse to take huuge profits check their records and the amount of TV ads for perscription drugs
CIA Fact Book
CIA World Factbook"

Anonymous said...

Oh and check Canada has a lower infant mortality rating than US.

Anonymous said...

And Canada has a higher life expectancy but at least we(US) have tons of tv ads for viagra and every kind of drug you can think of and luckly we pay through the nose if you are well off enough to afford it. Stick with FACTS

Dana said...

Dude the numbers are calculated differently. Do you not read other peoples comments before you post?

And if you don't think that R&D costs factor into the equation then why don't you look into the numbers as to where most medical advances occur. A monkey could figure out that most of it occurs in the US.

As well, if you are so confident that a private system is so terrible then why not allow a public and private system compete against each other? What are you or our government afraid of?

John said...

R&D costs are a facter just not big enough to make the US healthcare 3 times the cost spent per person. Just look at the pharmacuitical industry they spent 10s of Billions to advertise on TV and lobby the govt. to keep people from getting meds from Canada because your drugs made here are dangerous to us. WE have 45 million peolple without insurance and companies are cutting benifits everyday because the cost is raising by far faster than wages. Healthcare that is for profit by definition the compant will try to make money which is what companies should do. But making a profit makes the wealthy the ones with healthcare, and that should be a right. People get sick, would you say no treatment for you because you cant pay for it. I would not but it happens everyday when was the last time you could not pay for med treatment?

John said...

oh and the CIA world fact book is accurate

Anonymous said...

If you want a true picture of how people in the US feel about healthcare ask why out of 1.6 million bankrupcies in the US half are from medical bills. Do you think it is right that people lose everything because they had an accident or a kid gets seriously ill? I do not know about the Canadian system but it looks better on paper but if you want a system like this by all means just be carefull what you wish for you may get it. Frankly the numbers below for the US are low I would like to know where, and when they polled. If you poll the people that strugle to keep insurance or decide which meds to buy and the ones you cant afford it you would be shocked.

peopleCanada: 93%
United States: 51%

Those responding 'not satisfied at all' were:

Canada: 0%
United States: 6%

As the article concludes:Isn't that just typical? Our system is underperforming badly, yet we're oversatisfied with it.

Anonymous said...

One more quick point in the US healcare has gone up over 50% in the last five years. Do you think wages have gone up that much? No, real wages are down poverty is up healthcare is not slowing down and is still climbing.

Dana said...

First off the CIA factbook reports the data provided by the country in question. Do you think the CIA collects infant mortality data on every country in the planet? You aren't being serious are you?

As for public healthcare looking better on paper I guess I just don't see it. In Canada eye care is not covered by the government. And yet people manage to get eye care. Dental care is not covered by the government and yet once again people manage to get their teeth taken care of.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against a system of national healthcare. I agree that under catastrophic circumstances healthcare costs can put a family under and those situations should be avoided even if it requires government involvement.

But not once have you acknowledged any of the shortcomings of nationalized healthcare when it involves a ban on private services. Are you generally in favour of a healthcare monopoly?

As an example consider a case where someone has a serious leg injury where getting it properly addressed will require 2 years through the nationalized system. Why would you be opposed to that person spending their own personal funds if they decided the cost was worth it. What is two years of your life worth? Time with the kids? Time at work?

I recently read an article about a man in Vancouver in this situation and it was downright depressing. If you are interested I can try and find an online version of it.

As well, Canada has various levels of healthcare coverage. In Canada many people still have addition health coverage to cover brand name drugs, private or semi-private hospital rooms. All kinds of perks are still available.

Cost benefit analysis is obviously difficult when discussing something as complicated as healthcare. Why do you not consider the cost of the long wait times at Canadian hospitals? How much is their discomfort worth? Time lost at work? Added drug requirements such as more painkillers required for longer waits?

No one person will ever understand the total cost of either system. My point is that to outlaw a private system is foolish and unproductive.

Would you prefer that the government built every home in the country? Every car? Every television set? If the government is the only body capable of delivering healthcare why don't you trust them to build your car?

On and on the debate goes...

Anonymous said...

The serious leg injury you say you have to wait two years for if that is true that is long but never is longer and yes it happens. Most people here do not get private rms or brand name drugs unless you pay more. The CIA fact book is Canada and the US lying about their rates? Insurance in the US if you are lucky enough to have it does not include dental sometimes will include eye care but limited. there are many types of insurance something I left out before of the 1.6million bankrupcies over 50% were from medical bills and 3/4 of them HAD insuranceI left it out to bring it up later but you did not address it. Smart.
I have no idea what homes and car building have to do with healthcare I guess you see driving a car and needing heart surgery both the same. I dont. anyway you can have this system I am sure that if you have insurance that pays 80% and you get seriously ill you can afford to pay 20% of the bill.(Heart surgery approx. $250,000) While you and the rich can afford it most can not. Some things need to be regulated.

Anonymous said...

Oh and check Canada has a lower infant mortality rating than US.


- posted by Anonymous, at 12:22 PM, April 14, 2005

Dana said...

Blah blah blah...

Infant mortality is higher. And... how much of that is due to levels of health care? How much is due to people not buckling up their kids? People on drugs doing stupid shit? Any idea? Nope, you don't and neither do any of the other numbers. Hong Kong healthcare is pretty much a totally private affair and yet their infant mortality rate is much lower than Canada's. In fact there are 22 countries in the CIA factbook with an infant mortality lower than Canada's and all of those countries allow private healthcare services. Based on your reasoning (based on the fact that you repeat it endlessly) that infant mortality is the ultimate judge of a healthcare system how can you claim that nationalized healthcare is better when the numbers you provide give us 22 examples where Canada lags countries that allow private healthcare? Please explain your reasoning.

And could you please let me know where I claimed that a person needing heart surgery shouldn't get it unless they could afford it? Are we discussing the same topic? I think you are posting to the wrong comment thread because I'm convinced we are not talking about the same thing.

You appear to be claiming that a person should not be allowed to pay out of their own pocket even if they choose to. What makes you qualified to make that choice? If an old man wants to pay for leg surgery so that he isn't limp for 10 months what gives you the right to tell him he can't? He obviously knows what he values more than you do so what do you know about his life that makes you better qualified to make that decision on his behalf?

If a person wishes to pay for an MRI out of their own pocket instead of waiting over 6 months (which isn't unheard of up here by the way) what gives you the right to deny them that choice? If they have a head injury and are in terrible pain a $10000 loan may be exceptable instead of being in agony for 6 months. What makes you more qualified than the individual with the head injury to make that decision?

Anonymous said...

Be my guest if the rich in your country want good healthcare denied to everyone else then the US is your model.

Dana said...

Yep it's official. You are as clueless as you appear to be.

Congrats.

Anonymous said...

Care To elaborate?

Dana said...

Not really.