Saturday, April 25, 2009

True Tales of Canadian Health Care

Anonymous writes (partially redacted to protect the author's identity):

I am an American living and working in [Canadian City]. Please do not use my name, but I am a Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Consulate here... working in the... visas section. I could get in big trouble professionally for telling you this.

...I had numerous opportunities to work on cases in which Canadians were attempting to emigrate to the U.S. primarily for medical procedures. In one case, a U.S. citizen father was petitioning for his [Canadian adult] son to join him in [state]...

...His son had a non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and was unable to obtain the necessary treatments in Canada. In the U.S., two physicians had examined him and basically concluded that, because the disease had not spread above his neck, that he could be saved. In Canada, this young man was under a death sentence. Once I was satisfied that his medical costs would not be borne by U.S. taxpayers, I got him his visa and (hopefully) another chance at life.

* * * * * * * * *

[There was another] case of a young Canadian mother, in tears, who had recently given birth to a child with cerebral palsy. Her husband, a U.S. citizen working in Canada, was able to transmit U.S. citizenship to his infant son and he was petitioning for his wife so that the family could move to Chicago. Why? So the boy could get the treatment that he needed in the U.S., which was superior to that in Canada.

* * * * * * * * *

[We all] had several cases of nurses, doctors, and [X-ray] technicians who emigrated to the U.S. for professional reasons. Sometimes it was for the opportunity to earn more money (one doctor, earning about $85K annually Canadian, had a job offer at a clinic in Buffalo for $300K U.S.). For others, it was a chance to to do what they were trained to do - in the U.S., [an X-ray] technician has the equipment and facilities to ply his trade, whereas in Canada the opportunities to do so are quite limited.

* * * * * * * * *

I realize that this is all anecdotal and not statistically based, but in my experience the only Canadians who are satisfied with the system here are people who are healthy. I do not mean that in a snide attempt to be funny, I am serious - it is a good program for young healthy couples with one or two children who need vaccinations and routine appointments.

However, if you get sick, this is not the place to be.

Lastly, a comment - U.S. health care is a good value for the money. Would you rather have 2009 health care at 2009 prices, in the U.S., or 1970 health care at 1970 prices? The answer is obvious, and even our own Congress knows it. I am pretty sure that Ted Kennedy would not choose to have his brain cancer treated anywhere but the U.S., and the same is true for John Kerry's prostate cancer.

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