Canadian Health Care System

Lindsey_CA

I didn't want to hijack the Valerie Harper thread, so I'm starting a new one.


In the other thread, Debby wrote, "It makes me sad that someone as successful as she was in her acting career needs a gofundme page to help her out now because the US refuses to adopt the healthcare system we have."


I have some questions for folks in Canada. I'm asking because I honestly don't know. Please, no answers or comments from folks who are not in Canada.

  1. When you need a procedure, such as X-rays, echocardiogram, etc., how long is the wait between the time you call to make the appointment and the time the procedure is done?
  2. Can you go to any doctor you choose?
  3. Do you need a referral from a general practitioner/family doctor in order to see a specialist?
  4. What, if anything, would you change about the Canadian health care system, if you could?
  5. What, if anything, do you pay for doctor visits, procedures, medications, etc.?
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Elmer J Fudd

I can answer one question that has been mentioned in this forum from time to time. While it varies from province to province, I'm informed that prescription drugs aren't covered except for people who are hospitalized.

Another quirk - coverage may lapse when Canadians travel out of their home province to another while still in Canada.

That's not to say that our system is anything anyone would strive to have if starting with a blank piece of paper, it's obviously not.

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Elmer J Fudd

See Jasdip's enlightening comments in that other thread concerning her experiences as an Ontario resident.

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Jasdip

Lindsey it varies on the time frame when you get your MRI, surgeries, etc.

I was scheduled within a few days for an MRI, but it was also at 3:30 AM. Hubby, too was in the dark am for his.

A fried of mine is on an urgent list for a hip replacement, and it's 9 months. She doesn't know if she can last that long, she can barely get around, and is in severe pain.

We cannot go from doctor to doctor. If we have one, another doctor won't take us. I've tried in the past to switch doctors and I couldn't. We have walk-in clinics for people who don't have doctors.

Most doctors are in a practice or Family where they work with other doctors. So if I need a dr when my dr's office is closed, (Wed, afternoon) another dr is covering his/her patients and in the evening.

Specialists, absolutely are done by referral.

No cost to see your doctor, and get a prescription. But if I want a prescription filled without seeing him, it's $20 to fax it to my pharmacy. Doctors get paid by the office visit. Any paperwork.....sick note, etc etc there are fees for.

Case in point, one time we were at the hospital to see the oncologist, and waiting in his patient room. Our radiologist was walking by (the door was opened). We both called his name, we really like him a lot. He was glad to see us as well, and he jokingly, but not......said that he couldn't come into the room otherwise he'd have to bill the province. So that's why doctors like to see patients without just doing things over the phone, refilling prescriptions etc.

It was in the news just last week the salary that some medical specialists receive by our government. I have NO, ZERO issue with any doctor/specialist making a boat-load of money. They are constantly upgrading, have high insurance, equipment, staff etc. Why people bitch when a doctor makes a very high 6-figure salary, and cheer when a local basketball player gets signed to a sickening multi-million dollar deal where he can buy a personal jet? I don't get it.

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functionthenlook

" Please, no answers or comments from folks who are not in Canada"

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ldp77723

You can go to any doctor you choose, but a lot of doctors do not take new patients. Your doctor will refer you to a specialist.(can be a long wait to see specialist)

You do not pay for doctors visits or hospital stays or procedures.

You have to pay for presciptions - some provinces dont charge elderly people. If you are below a certain income the government will pay all or part of the cost'

Wait times depend on how serious your condition is - broken bones - heart attact etc. are done right away, other times the wait can be very very long.

the wait times and shortage of specialists are what concern most canadians.

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Elmer J Fudd

function, if for some reason you think it's reasonable and proper for someone in an open conversation (whether on the internet or in real life) to define who can speak or what can be said, then you should abide by that. I don't and I don't.

Use rules to maintain reasonable decorum, to avoid ad hominem comments or edgy topics or language in the wrong places are different and too often needed.

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ont_gal

I see a GP-have now for most issues for over 40 years.

That particular Doctor has now retired and his replacement works only 2 days a week that he sees ppl and 1/2 day that is done via teleconference.

Currently,if I need to see this doc, average wait time is a week to sometimes 3.

Due to the current GP shortage,there are walk-in clinics being held-these in this area are mainly for ppl that do not have a GP

If I need to be seen by a specialist,my GP suggests a spec and sends in the referral- depending on the health issue-you could easily wait up to a year to see that specialist-I've been lucky, very lucky-I generally get to a specialist within a cpl of weeks.

When I developed heart issues,I went from my GP's office,directly to the blood lab for tests and ECG/EKG's immediately-no wait time whatsoever.

Our xrays, CT Scans, MRI's and surgeries are covered by OHIP-Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

Prescription drugs for some of us are covered by our own health plans....or private ins. coverage from a workplace.

If you are in hospital,your drugs being administered are covered-should you require scripts after being discharged,you will receive a script and pay for it yourself or thru your insurance plan.

We are covered by OHIP for your eye doctor visit & general eye issues every 2 years...should you need to be seen for a problem otherwise,you can be seen asap....(rather, at least if you live in this rural area)

Eye glasses-my lenses are covered,but not the frames-we pay out of pocket for those-again unless you have a private coverage, contacts are paid for out of pocket.

Our insurance coverage,OHIP works here in Ontario-to my knowledge,each province carries its' own type of ins coverage-should you leave Ontario to go to Cuba for instance,you pay via a travel agent for out of country coverage-your OHIP does NOT cover you away from the province.

As far as I know,I covered all of your questions that involve myself my family or ppl that I know of in this part of Ontario




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laceyvail 6A, WV

Long waits in the US to see specialists too--several months is not uncommon.

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Uptown Gal

I know I am not following the request...I am not Canadian. But, I just had to

add to Laceyvail's post...that, obviously depends on where you live...It is more

like a week here to see a Specialist to start the process. Several months would be extremely uncommon, and that Dr., would be losing patients big

time.

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provogal

I have never paid a doctor’s bill in my life. I have had numerous surgeries including for breast cancer. I have a yearly MRI because mammograms don’t work for me. When I had to have surgery, I interviewed 3 surgeons before choosing who and where to have my lumpectomy. I have a family doctor but if it’s trivial I will go to a walk in clinic. If you have a serious condition you do not wait. If it is elective you may. You can also supplement OHIP. My brother-in-law and his wife joined MEdCam which fast tracks you I believe. They are both in poor health. She has Parkinson’s and had open brain surgery which helped tremendously to alleviate her writhing and trembling. They move to British Columbia and she still gets free follow up care. My son was in intensive care for a week in a private pod in our neurological hospital. We would have been bankrupted had we lived in the States. He was developmentally delayed and had many therapies etc throughout his life and all we ever paid was parking. The only thing I would change is wait times for some elective procedures although luckily, I have never experienced any delay in anything I needed done.






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Debby

I can see any doctor I want. If I need to see a specialist however, I do need a referal and depending on the doctor and the severity of my illness, it can be a couple days to several months. If I need a test done, I call a clinic and boom! Make an appointment and I have my test done, often the same week, depends on the clinic. I work directly across from once clinic that does ECG's and bloodwork among other tests and it's packed full at 6:30 in the morning, whereas if I call a clinic at the complete opposite end of the city, I can pretty much get in the same day. I've never had to wait long to get in. Often times, you can just do it as a walk in, but appointments come first so you can sit there for hours. I have never in my life paid for a doctors visit. Ever. Not even for a specialist. My prescriptions are covered through my group benefits that I have at work. Not all are covered, but if I need something expensive that isn't covered, my doctor and the pharmacy can contact my insurance for special coverage. I know a couple people with Chrohns whose medication is very expensive and not covered by MY insurance (each company is different), and they have special coverage. Often times, they can get compassion (100%) from the manufacturer of the medication. All medications given in the hospital are covered by Alberta Health Care. Medications taken at home will either be paid for by cash or your benefits. If you have neither, there are places that will cover it for you (if you're low income, homeless, etc.) Now that my husband is over the age of 65 we also have Bluecross coverage. Still not sure what all it covers. I just know that if I need a prescription Bluecross covers the main part and anything it won't cover, my coverage will pay. It's new to us, we only just got the cards.


what would I change? I would get into politics and pay our doctors better. Did you know that many doctors who get their diplomas in Canada go to the US because the pay is better? I want a doctor who is about the job, not the cheque, but it would help keep doctors in Canada and more available to us. My oldest sons first pediatrician who was at the top of his field in Calgary, moved to the US for greener pastures (or should I say greener money?) shortly after my son was born.


I am glad we do have a national health coverage. I delivered two premature babies. One spent 9 weeks in the NICU, the other 6 weeks in the NICU. The oldest spent the better part of 3 years in and out of the hospital and had many surgeries. I didn't pay a single bill. Nada. None.


My husband had major surgery on his shoulder 6 years ago. And life saving surgery on his stomach 2 1/2 years ago. Again: no bill. I will admit however, that his shoulder surgery was done as fast as it was because it was work related and WCB patients do get in a little faster. But as for his stomach, we got to the hospital at 11 in the morning and he was in surgery by 7 that night as soon as they figured out what was wrong with him. My son spent two nights in the hospital for a back injury two months ago. Not a dime was paid. Toilet paper included. :) We do pay for ambulance trips: if we don't have extended benefits through work. Almost all full time employees have coverage. We do pay a small portion every month for this. My benefits cover dental, ambulance, prescriptions, semi private room in the hospital, life insurance, medical leave of absence. Among other things. I pay $44 a month for this. I get my teeth cleaned 4x a year and don't pay a dime so that $44 a month pays for itself. Also, now that our company can dispense CBD oil and medical marijuana, I can probably bring my husband RX to my work and it "should" be covered. Just waiting to see if our insurance has added it to our list of drugs.



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bpath Oh Sophie

Debby, my BIL is a physician in Canada. (I’m in US) He considered a move to the US, but in the end stayed and opened a private practice. He likes the ability to see his patients any time, no quota or time limit that he had before. He has fewer patients but can spend quality and quantity time with them.

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Elmer J Fudd

"He likes the ability to see his patients any time, no quota or time limit that he had before."

This has nothing at all to do with the country he's in but rather the group or organization, if any, he is or was working for. Close adherence to time guidelines or the ability to freewheel is entirely a matter of whether there are or aren't rigid rules imposed. This varies considerably.

This thread is full of many misconceptions and misunderstandings.

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blfenton

1. Depends on the procedure required. If you're in emergency for an issue all necessary procedures will be done at the time. Otherwise X-rays are done whenever you go to the x-ray clinic and yes you can make an appt if you need a before or afterwork appt and that is generally available within a day or two. In order to cutdown on the MRI and CT scan waits those appt have been extended (as noted above) to pretty much 24 hour availability.

2. Are you talking about GP's or specialists? I have a GP that I trust and like. If I didn't I can and would find myself a new one but that is dependent on who is taking new patients. If I need an appt with my GP it can be 1 or 2 day wait. She doesn't work Wednesdays as she is also a geriatric physician and that day is her day to visit the assisted living residences in our area for those patients who can't get out.

If I need/want immediate attention I have 4 walk-in clinics within a 10 minute drive and I can call each of them and find out what their wait time is.

3. Do you require a referral to a specialist? It depends on the specialist. I go to a podiatrist for arthritis in my toes and no referral was necessary. Referrals are not necessary for eye doctors, physios, etc.

A friend of mine is having both knees replaced today and the initial referral wait time was about 6 weeks, having the operation done was a 5 month wait but that's because both knees are being done at the same time and the requirements for operating time, staff time etc are a little more difficult for scheduling. If he wanted to do them separately he could have already had the first one done but then the second one would have been further delayed.

5. What do I pay? I pay nothing. We also have an extended private plan which pays for whatever prescriptions we need and things such as orthotics, physio appts, dental work.

4. Paying nothing is actually a bit of a misnomer - we pay for our health care through our taxes and each province (I'm in BC) spends their health care money in slightly different ways. This is where the US calling our health care a socialist program comes into play. I have never known anything else but it beats the alternative of potentially going bankrupt.

Canada had huge growing pains when developing their Universal Care Health plan. It wasn't done overnight, it took decades and it is still constantly being tweaked. There might be a drug that is covered in Alberta and not BC and if there is a need in BC then the BCMed will look at the issue and adjust if necessary and the same thing could happen with a specific procedure. The provinces can also make exceptions in some cases and cover something that is not usually covered.

What would I change? I would try to change an attitude rather than anything in the system. I would like to see GP's being paid more and being respected by the rest of the medical professions as being the front line of care and a necessary type of care. So many students choose GP as their last choice for specialty and I wish that wasn't the case. More people need GP's than they need thoracic surgeons or neurosurgeons.

Another thing that I had wished for a long time to change was the attitude of preventative medicine and that is something that BC is now instituting. For eg if a patient comes in and is close to being a diabetic the doctor will send the patient to a prediabetic clinic to learn healthstyle changes to keep diabetes at bay. It's done with obese and heart patients as well. It's cheaper to stop the problem from becoming worse than to have a patient requiring hospital care.

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blfenton

This thread is full of many misconceptions and misunderstandings - Elmer J Fudd

Perhaps you could point out a couple. Keep in mind that these are our experiences and each province is different.

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Elmer J Fudd

Sure. Here are two instances of the same misinformed comment/innuendo. The second one was said by you. There are others.

"We would have been bankrupted had we lived in the States. "

"I have never known anything else but it beats the alternative of potentially going bankrupt."

The stats I found suggest that more than 90% of Americans have some form of health insurance. I'd like it better if it were closer to 100% but we are where we are for now.

Is it always affordable - no. Is the coverage comprehensive - not always. People whose employment situations are such that can't afford health insurance likely find other problems in their life they can't afford - rent, food, transportation, etc., It's a socio-economic issue as much as a health policy one and facile criticisms are usually off the mark.

I don't do any name calling and I don't care if a country's health system is fascist, communistic, socialistic, or libertarian. Something that Canada's public system seems to share with public ones in some other countries is that costs are controlled by rationing services - long waits, required referrals, less than whizbang services. etc. The NIH in the UK is similar. And Canada just like the UK and some other countries really has a two tier system - the public system for the masses and the private system with better doctors, better service and better capabilities for those who can afford to pay extra and more for it, either directly or through optional private insurance.

Maybe my opinion is misinformed too, but I'd say the fact that there is a two tiered system is a vote and a reality decided by Canadians. It means there's some number of Canadians who find public system services unacceptable and are willing to pay more for the private system.

Disregard my other comments and think about this one question - if the public systems are so terrific, why is there a parallel private system in existence accessible only by those with the means to afford the cost or insurance to provide access to them so as to avoid the public system?

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PKponder TX Z7B

Do your supplemental plans, either employer provided or private carry an out of pocket cost also? This is directed at all of those that mentioned other plans (OHIP, employer benefits, ect).

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blfenton

I don't understand what you mean by rationing services? Like any government funded organization whether it be schools or infrastructure, budgeting is a balancing act and as I mentioned it is always being tweaked. Is the system perfect, of course not and I have always freely admitted that.

I can't speak for the other provinces but BC has one private clinic and has had for several years but I don;t know anyone who has ever used it. Re better doctors - most of the doctors have very specialized focuses but they also work in local hospitals as well as sharing their knowledge by teaching at the university.

Anyway - the OP had some specific questions which I have answered. I seldom get involved in this discussion as I find that it evolves into disingenuous remarks and questions very quickly.

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Lindsey_CA

Thank you to all of the folks in Canada who responded with their experiences. Thank you to bpath who responded about her BIL who is a physician in Canada.

The reason I requested responses only from folks in Canada is because I wanted to know actual, real-life experiences, not conjectures or speculations. Elmer can spout his nonsense all he wants about how it's a fee Internet and anyone can say whatever they want, but I am truly not interested in what he has to say, or his experiences in this country.

The reason I posted this thread is because I wanted to know actual, real-life experiences because I know that my actual, real-life experience here in the United States is different than for most folks. Growing up, I was the child of an Army Officer and, as far as I know, we paid nothing for health care. As an adult, I've always had private insurance that involved a monthly premium, a yearly deductible, and then I was responsible for no more than 10% of the allowed charges (which are radically different, and less than, the charges that the doctors/hospitals/labs submit to the insurance company). And now, with Medicare Parts A & B and supplemental coverage through Anthem Blue Cross, I pay nothing except for a copay for medications. Medicare Part A is free, and the premiums for Part B, the Supplemental (which includes Part D [drugs]), and the Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA) are all paid by the State as part of my retirement benefits. When I get prescriptions filled at a pharmacy, the most I pay is $10 for a 90-day supply, with the exception of two cardiac meds for which I will only take the brand-name drug, so for those I pay $100 for a 90-day supply (a third cardiac med has an authorized generic, for which I pay $10 for a 90-day supply). It's not unusual for a prescription to cost less than $3. I had surgery (parathyroidectomy) in November 2017, with one night in the hospital but lots of tests prior to surgery. I paid $0.00. I had to have a cardiac stent in March 2018, with one night in the hospital. I paid $0.00. I can go to any doctor I want, and I do not need a referral to see a specialist. The only time there is a "wait" is if the doctor is booked up and doesn't have an immediate opening.

I know that my "situation" is not the norm for folks here in the USA, and I know I'm lucky to have the coverage and benefits that I do. And it's because I don't fit into the norm that the discussions about "the sad state of health care in America" don't apply to me and I truly wondered if actual, real-life experiences of health care in Canada are that much better.

Again, thank you for the Canadian responses. I am now done with this discussion. Elmer can spout all he wants.

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whatsayyou18

"Military medicine isn't very good, by the way"

What do you base that on?

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bleusblue2

Disregard my other comments and think about this one question - if the public systems are so terrific, why is there a parallel private system in existence accessible only by those with the means to afford the cost or insurance to provide access to them so as to avoid the public system?

~~~

What do you mean by "parallel private system"? I haven't checked other provinces. There is no parallel system in Ontario. One can buy "extra" insurance -- that would pay for dental, private room in hospital.

I know of one important doctor who left Toronto to work in the states -- he pioneered the LVRS (sp?) for lungs. After a few years he came back.

I live in a major city. I recently had appointments with specialists within 3 weeks of the referral.

Following Cancer diagnosis, surgery was 3 weeks later.

I've never paid for doctor appointment. Last week I paid the optometrist 55 dollars for a "photo" of my internal eye -- he likes to do that for all new patients. Over age 65 I think, one is entitled to one free eye exam each year.

My relatives in the States envy the healthcare I have.

My GP retired last year and I scrambled around, asking friends for suggestions, until I found the doctor I have now. I like him very much.

Maybe bankruptcy due to medical bills in the US doesn't seem widespread but there is enough of it to be worrisome. I read somewhere that this is the major reason for personal bankruptcy in the US. The worst part of the system in the US is the WORRY, especially changing jobs, or having a preexisting condition.

Edited to add -- my new doctor has a good system -- he leaves slots open each day. I call in at 8am and can get a same day appointment. So far it's always worked. I don't know if it would ever happen that I'd call day after day and be too late!

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Michael

My relatives in the States envy the healthcare I have.

My relatives in Canada envy the healthcare I have in the USA. Those who can, take advantage of our health care plans.

My DIL is a Canadian citizen, my son a permanent resident. She prefers his state employee health care plan 10-1 over Canada's plan. She has health care, dental care and eye care. And it's very inexpensive.

Her mother (a Canadian) retired from Henry Ford Hospital long ago and still receives her (spouse)benefits through the hospital/Medicare combined. She's very, very satisfied.

My wife's best friend relocated to Canada in 1999. She retired from a prestigious law firm in Detroit. She kept the corporate retiree health plan and would never wish to convert to the Canada Healthcare Plan.

Yes, they all have to travel across the border for healthcare, but it's less than 30 minutes away.

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whatsayyou18

We returned recently from a cruise which originated in GB, therefore many Brits on board. The subject of health care came up more than once and, if I understand correctly, most carry private insurance as they have little faith in the public system. So, they are saddled with very high taxes and added cost of private insurance. We travel a fair amount and hear this often. One woman on the ship was in a wheelchair because the in-training medics broke her back while trying to constrain her during a seizure caused by a combination of meds which were contraindicated. She has had an intimate relationship with GB's health care system and wasn't a fan.

Our son had a Canadian friend whose grandmother, according to the grandson, died while waiting the 18 month wait period for an MRI. That was many years ago; perhaps it's better now.


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Elmer J Fudd

" "Military medicine isn't very good, by the way"

What do you base that on?"

I'm an Army vet. I had several encounters with shockingly incompetent doctors, of a couple of different types, while on active duty.

More recently, a young doc I know well took time out from his career on a lark to spend a couple of years as a DoD civilian working at a largish military (not VA) medical facility with a military and dependent patient base. His stories of the limited capabilities of some of the colleagues he worked with were of a similar nature and hair raising.

How about any of you - any experiences to share?

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whatsayyou18

I have the choice between military care and civilian but haven't had any reason to go civilian. Extremely happy with the care we've gotten. Thankfully, have had no serious illnesses. I do remember decades ago having issues with military health care (wait times primarily) but back then there were issues with every office we ever had to deal with (housing, transportation, schools, etc.). Times have changed for the better.

Incompetents can be found anywhere and everywhere.

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Elmer J Fudd

Yes, incompetents can be found anywhere. But in the civilian world, you have a wide range of choices and ways to find the better providers. With a military clinic it's not the same.

You'll also find many military providers to have secondary or lower tier less accomplished backgrounds. Sure there are exceptions. Look the next time you go in, you'll find a disproportionate number of osteopaths (DOs, graduates of the second tier medical education system in the US) and also MDs from Uniformed Services U, the federal government medical school to supply docs into the armed forces. That's a reasonable and noble mission, thing is, it's not a very well respected medical school and is one of the easier ones to get into (judging from the stats of accepted students). For myself and my family, I prefer the the choices of the open market to find the best possible providers. When one disappoints, I find another.


There are a lot of crappy doctors around but many very good ones too. I'm happy to drive a little farther to go to the best ones, location or convenience shouldn't be a factor. Keep your options open.

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Kathsgrdn

Had my son at an Air Force hospital, daughter at a civilian hospital. I thought I was going to die when I had my daughter. They overdosed me on the epidural meds, after they wore off and the OB left the hospital. The anesthesiologist couldn't get ahold of the OB for a couple hours so I was in extreme pain the entire time, until just before they did the c-section, then overdosed me. I'll take the Air Force doctor, thanks. Both were c-sections, by-the-way, after laying in labor for many hours.

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Elmer J Fudd

What an awful experience. You had a crappy doctor and I'm shocked that there was no one covering for them when they left the hospital if s/he couldn't be reached by phone or (the doctors' favorite) pager. A woman in the hospital and in a "delivery imminent" situation should never experience a doctor not reachable or not very close to the hospital if not physically there.

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bleusblue2

Michael

My relatives in the States envy the healthcare I have.

My relatives in Canada envy the healthcare I have in the USA. Those who can, take advantage of our health care plans.

~~~~

I'm kind of surprised to hear that. I never hear that in the states except from people who do have those Cadillac plans and haven't run into any glitches or denials of care for some reason.

edited to add I should say I have never heard it PERSONALLY from anybody at all.

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whatsayyou18

Kathsgardn, I had the exact same experience!! Son was born at an AFB and it was the most lovely experience. DD was born at a private hospital and it was a nightmare! I won't go into all the details but we just could not believe how polar opposite the two experiences were. We were so glad we had the positive experience first, otherwise not sure we would've had #2. (Kidding, sort of.)

One thing we laugh about was how the staff was sitting around discussing weekend plans and telling me not to push. DH said to go ahead and push, that we'd have the baby without them. One of them came over to check progress (I had been to my dr. earlier for a regular visit and he sent me straight to the hospital so I had been ready for awhile) and they finally got serious about getting me into the delivery room.



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cherryfizz

Seniors in Ontario pay a co-pay of $2 or $3 for their prescriptions. I have never had issues with our health care. I can see my doctor usually the same day I call him and if he isn't available his clinic is open. In Ontario we get letters to remind us to get mammograms, colonoscopys and for men Prostrate screening. I can usually get a mammogram the within a few days or week of requesting one. I know in other cities there is a longer wait time and some patients are sent here. I don't take any prescription medications but when I have had the need for prescription medications in the past for acid reflux my Doctor knows I don't have prescription coverage so his nurse makes arrangements with the drug rep who dropped off boxes of the medicaiton I needed and I only had to go back to my Doctor to pick it up. I just let them know when I was running short. From what I have heard our prescription drug prices for the most part cost a lot less for the same prescription drug in the US. Right now Insulin seems to bring American's over here to pick up what they need for a much lesser cost.

One thing I could never understand is some Doctors here will ask you to pay $100-200 a year if you are one of their patients. My Doctor has never done this but some of my friends family gps require this. I don't know if it is for Drs. notes, or to have prescriptions refilled. Some doctors do charge for having to call the pharmacy for your refills, mine doesn't.

I must say the medical care my family members have received has been excellent. My older sister has had heart issues her entire life, had 2 hip replacements, 2 pacemakers, 2 different breast cancers, lung cancer, surgeries and the only thing she had to pay for besides some prescription meds before she became a senior was taxi rides to and from her appointments. My sister had daily medical care through CCAC - Community Care Access Centre. Twice a day a nurse would come to the house to give her IV antibiotics, she had a daily personal care worker come in to bath her and help her get dressed. When she was diagnosed with lung cancer and moved in with me so I could care for her I was provided with all the equipment I needed for her - a hospital bed. commode, she had oxygen and a weekly visit from the oxygen therapist, nurse practioners coming to the house, Hospice doctors, night nurse when I needed to get some sleep, she had a ventalyn machine and the meds to help her breath. If she fell or I needed help moving her I just had to call the EMS and they would come to help. Not a penny was paid out for any of this care or equipment. CCAC even paid for the private transport ambulance to take her to her chemotherapy appointments. She was put on a new chemo drug that cost over $700 a pill that was paid for but the doctor had to apply to OHIP for that to be covered. Same excellent health care for my other sister and my Mom who had long term Alzheimer's and pancreatic cancer who I took care of at home

My cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer this time last year and she had the surgery the same week. Our health care isn't perfect, there are long wait times for certain procedures and long wait times at the ER. We have a doctor shortage especially for some specialists in Windsor. Right now there are only about 8 Family Doctors taking new patients but if you don't have a family doctor there is a clinic right around the corner and you can see any doctor there. Some procedures aren't covered like they used to be covered. If you need a mole removed you have to pay for it, I don't know what the other things are. We do pay for our health care through our taxes and through our employers but you never have to worry about paying up front to see your doctor or for most procedures. What OHIP covers https://www.ontario.ca/page/what-ohip-covers#section-0




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Jasdip

Cherryfizz, my previous doctor who has retired, and current one which we both love(d) are part of a group of Family Doctors Services. Every year we patients receive a letter outlining the costs of thing they provide that's not covered by OHIP. Things like doctor's notes/return to work letters, skin tag removals, faxing/calling a prescription to the pharmacist, physical exams that are requested by a 3rd party (insurance, employment etc ($150).

If you have a family, and use these services, it's recommended that you buy an annual fee, or if you're a patient that uses a lot of these services. Otherwise you pay per use, which I would do. I've only used the faxing prescription with Tom a couple of times, and I'm not on any meds myself.

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chisue

Many countries think health care is a right and provide for it through taxation. The US thinks it's a privilege and is paying more NOT to control costs or provide it across the board -- hugely profiting insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

Many countries control the costs of providing care for all and control the costs of prescription medications for all. (All -- except the US -- prohibit advertising of prescription meds.) The US controls costs of some aspects of care -- but not prescription meds -- for Seniors, and for the abject poor if they live in a Blue State.

There will always be at least two 'tiers' in any 'product'. Some in the US can afford a Rolls. They: a) Don't care whether public transit (or health care) is limited; and b) Fail to see the costs *they* indirectly incur for this indifference.

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eccentric

To add to what other Canadians have said, in Ontario my husband needed a referral to his ophthalmologist (but not to an optometrist). We are both over 65 but have to pay personally for the "eyeball" test - but at 65 plus OHIP will pay for an annual eye exam every year but not for the eyeball test. He has limited retirement benefits - no vision coverage is offered. I would love for his lenses to be covered - they cost a fortune! Much more than his frames and he needs 2 pairs of glasses at all times just in case one should break and he would be unable to see.

I agree that GPs should be paid more and allowed to offer medical services as per in the past. Our GP can only remove the tiniest of skin tags (moles etc.) - so a referral is needed to a derm. My doctor made 3 referrals and suggested that I take the first one offered - it took 9 months. Of course if I had wanted a cosmetic treatment I could have been seen within 2 days. This is a problem.

We live in a very large Cdn. city. If you have a doctor you are lucky - we do - and have always paid the annual fees (two different doctors) even though we have never utilized any of the services.

Yes there is the drug co--pay. There is also the $100 deductible that is charged every August 1 in Ontario. I have one prescription - so by the time the $100 deductible is met it is August again. Our post 65 plan covers generic drugs which I can't take - so I have to pay the difference as well - and it only covers certain drugs.

Certainly we have long wait times, but I think that often is determined by where you live in Canada.

Certainly I would never think of leaving Ontario without out of province insurance since as was pointed out above, every province handles things differently. In some provinces oral cancer meds are covered, in others they are not. I have a strong suspicion that Ontario is one that does not whereas BC does.






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