Canada's struggle with health care wait times a harbinger for the US

For a shuddering preview of life under Obamacare we just have to look at the experiences of Canada, our friendly neighbor to the north, where health care is free , the taxes to pay for it high and not incidentally, the wait times, for health care are long. ,

And so three years ago Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harris decided to do something about excessive wait time for Canadian health care--besides sending people who need health care to America--by tossing 612 million loonies (Canadian dollars) at the problem. John Geddes of Canada's Macleans asks
, "Wait, where did all the money go?"

Good question. But no clear answer.


Exactly what Harper bought for $612 million isn't clear. Each province got $10 million up front, and each territory $4 million, for committing to a guaranteed wait for a single procedure. For instance, British Columbia guaranteed radiation therapy within eight weeks, Newfoundland guaranteed bypass surgery within 26 weeks. The remaining $500 million was doled out on a per capita basis, under a general agreement that provinces would work toward shrinking wait lists, but with no requirement for reporting back in detail on how it was spent.Bellan said there's been progress, including faster cataract surgeries and hip replacements across Canada.

Is that 612 million loonies worth it? Or did the government money go, as government money tends to do, for more bureaucrats at higher salaries, and fraud and inefficiencies? Yes, these things happen even in nice Canada.

In the meantime Canadians still have to leave the country for medical care. And as Obamacare kicks in--especially after 2012--will there be room for Canadians and Americans in the American health care system? And where will Americans go if inevitably, our health care system contracts? Canada? Mexico?

Or just suffer?


For a shuddering preview of life under Obamacare we just have to look at the experiences of Canada, our friendly neighbor to the north, where health care is free , the taxes to pay for it high and not incidentally, the wait times, for health care are long. ,

And so three years ago Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harris decided to do something about excessive wait time for Canadian health care--besides sending people who need health care to America--by tossing 612 million loonies (Canadian dollars) at the problem. John Geddes of Canada's Macleans asks
, "Wait, where did all the money go?"

Good question. But no clear answer.


Exactly what Harper bought for $612 million isn't clear. Each province got $10 million up front, and each territory $4 million, for committing to a guaranteed wait for a single procedure. For instance, British Columbia guaranteed radiation therapy within eight weeks, Newfoundland guaranteed bypass surgery within 26 weeks. The remaining $500 million was doled out on a per capita basis, under a general agreement that provinces would work toward shrinking wait lists, but with no requirement for reporting back in detail on how it was spent.

Bellan said there's been progress, including faster cataract surgeries and hip replacements across Canada.

Is that 612 million loonies worth it? Or did the government money go, as government money tends to do, for more bureaucrats at higher salaries, and fraud and inefficiencies? Yes, these things happen even in nice Canada.

In the meantime Canadians still have to leave the country for medical care. And as Obamacare kicks in--especially after 2012--will there be room for Canadians and Americans in the American health care system? And where will Americans go if inevitably, our health care system contracts? Canada? Mexico?

Or just suffer?


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