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Mike Huss
Senior Member
Username: Mikhu

Post Number: 1003
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 01:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill, what happened? Didn't you vote early and often enough? Or are you still officially a US citizen and therefore you are unable to affect the election?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060124/ap_on_re_ca/canada_election
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 4509
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 02:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mike, I'm a US citizen (and vote in US elections). Just as in the US, only citizens can vote in Canada. I did follow the Canadian election somewhat closely. My wife and I watched the debates both in English and in French, and she made her decision only 10 minutes before going to the polls.

I don't say this too loudly for fear of alienating my Canadian friends and neighbours, but frankly politics is boring here compared to the US version. The issues and individuals are smaller. Almost everyone is at the left side of the scale. The Conservatives would be a centrist party in the US if such a thing existed.

Canada is not paradise and does have some problems. This is at the heart of why there was a vote for a change yesterday. The Liberals were burdened by a financial scandal in Quebec that had national implications, and there is some concern over an increase in gun crime (still rare by US standards) in the largest cities. Furthermore, as occurs periodically, there was a sense it was time to send a message that the ruling party should not consider itself a permanent fixture.

The Conservative plurality is not a majority, which is very important in a parliamentary system. Almost everyone believes there will be another election in 18-24 months. The best that can be said is that the campaign typically lasts only 60 days, so Canadians are spared the continual circus that has become a fixture of US politics.
 

davidw
Senior Member
Username: Davidw

Post Number: 1407
Registered: 03-2001
Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 03:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

All that and round bacon, too.

What more could a North American ask for?
 

Tim Wi
Intermediate Member
Username: Riverkeeper

Post Number: 384
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 04:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Health Care was a biggie, was it not?

NPR did a piece a few weeks ago on the large number of clinics etc that are catering to Canadians who are crossing the border to receive health care and are paying out of pocket rather than wait up to 2 years or more for "free" health care.

Gotta love Socialized health care.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 4513
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 05:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The Canadian health care system varies from province to province. Quebec's is somewhat more "socialized" (primary care physicians are employed by the provincial health service). In Ontario doctors and hospitals are independent; the provincial health service acts as the billing agent and payer, much like Blue Cross/Blue Shield in the US. This enables some cost savings.

Most Canadians enjoy about the same level of health care as seniors under Medicare in the US. It's usually adequate but not always prompt. Any Canadian citizen can show up at a hospital emergency room or clinic and receive critical care (if their condition is not life-threatening they might wait several hours). It's not always easy for new patients to find a family doctor; they might have to settle for their third or fourth choice. There is a waiting list for non-critical surgery (my father-in-law waited a year for cataract surgery). Wealthy patients sometimes go to the US for treatment because it is more prompt (US hospitals and doctors gladly take their money).

Most companies provide their employees with supplementary health insurance coverage for such things as prescription drugs and dental and vision care. This reduces the overall cost but not the waiting times for medical services (if anything there may be a surplus of dentists in Canada).

There are advantages to the Canadian system. For example, Ford and GM have made fewer cuts to their Canadian workforce because they estimate it costs an average of $1300 less (the cost of health benefits) to build a car in Canada than in the US.

Of course the supreme law of economics ("there is no free lunch") still holds. Canadian taxes are more (Canadians pay about a 5 percent higher income tax rate, plus a national 7 percent sales tax) to support the health care system.

Interestingly, health care was not a major issue in the election campaign. There is grumbling about the wait times and mention of the wealthy who go to the US for treatment, but overall the percentage of those who favor the system is in the 80 percent range.
 

No MoreYears
New Member
Username: Nomoreyears

Post Number: 2
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 03:19 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"Canadians who are crossing the border to receive health care and are paying out of pocket rather than wait up to 2 years or more for "free" health care."

Just out of curiosity - how long is the wait time for the 45 million uninsured Americans?

Actually, my guess is that most of us wouldn't know because we are probably mostly white adult males. I think we, as a group, are pretty well insured. Whether we think we have health care rationing in this country or not - we do. It just isn't based on anything other than dollars.
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 2382
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 04:43 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Here is a story about the effect of 45 million Americans without health care. On Dec. 10 my 4 month pregnant niece had a stroke. She is subject to migrains, but this one was really bad. The squad took her to the hospital. Because they told the hospital that she gets migrains, they let her sit there while they took care of the other people in the emergency room thinking that it was just a really bad one. Who were the other people in the emergency room? Been in one lately? I would hazard to guess that the bulk of them are among the 45 million uninsured who let their problems go until the emergency room was their only alternative. Finally after two hours she was given an MRI and, oh, a stroke! They then transfered her to another hospital where she has been in ICU ever since.

Last Friday they felt that they could do brain surgery to clean out the gunk in her skull and seal off the leak. If everything works out well, she may be able to go home in a few weeks. She seems fine as far as everything working and nobody has said that there is anything wrong with the baby (boy). I am deeply concerned that both will have very long term trouble due to her being on pain medication for about two months.

So you have medical insurance? It is not a problem that others don't? My niece thankfully has insurance, but the absence of insurance for a lot of other people had a severe effect on her, didn't it!

Sorry to get emotional.

Dan

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ELK
Senior Member
Username: Elkski

Post Number: 1373
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 05:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This is a tough topic...My take is to go back to basics.. When I was a kid you used to go to the old doctors office and there was a lady at the front desk or 2 and the doctor and a nurse. The office probably had a bookeeper and that was it 5 workers per doctor. Now its more like 10 workers per doctor to handle al lthe insurance forms and record keeping to keep the lawusuits at bay. We have to many middle men in this current system. Just look at all the HMO and health plan execs that make a nice 250k. What also worries me is that like anything else the older folks get more coverage than they paid in to the system and only think about themselves. For example my F-In-law has had 2 triples by passes, some stints, a pacemaker. Do you think us 45 yr old guys will get that much treatment in 20 years after we pay for all these older folks to get care? Its just like the SS sytem. Also when I used to work for a fortune 500 co. our insurance was so much better than state workers. Today state employees have some of the best coverage.
Basically like all things the rich dont care because they can pay. The rich as in all politians some of which get healthcare for life.
It is also hard to imagine any new system whereby we could all of a sudden cover 42 mil uninsured.

Ps I also wanted to add that any company that serves unhealhy food products should be held liable just like we hekd the tobaco companies. Ex soda machines in the schools high transfat oils, etc. I bet Coke has memo's on studies that show increased consumption for life if we start these kids off before 15 yrs old. And lots of states are passing laws that protect these guys. I know we have free choice but america basically eats whats out there and pushed on us.

(Message edited by elkski on January 26, 2006)
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 2384
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 08:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill Pierce, how are the emergency rooms in Canada?

Dan

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Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 4529
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 08:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dan, Canadian ER's have many similarities to those in the US, and a few differences. The level of care is equivalent; they are intended to provide acute emergency services, not be a substitute for routine medical care. As I mentioned earlier, you will be treated immediately if your life is in danger, but you may have to wait for several hours if it is not.

Overall the Canadian poverty level is a little more than half that of the US, and all citizens are entitled to (mostly) "free" tax-supported health care. This means there is less burden on ER's to fill in the gaps, as is the case in the US. As such, they tend to be smaller and the pace somewhat less hectic. Additionally, Canada is a less violent country (but not totally so); as a result there is less trauma.
 

Mike Huss
Senior Member
Username: Mikhu

Post Number: 1004
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 09:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I guess I struggle with this issue. On one hand I can see where it would be reasonable to expect that everyone in this country should have access to affordable health care. On the other hand nowhere in our Bill of Rights does it state that we have a right to health care.

When I lost my job in '03 and my insurance ran out three months later I had already done my research and found insurance for my family that I paid for on my own for $300/month. I never once thought of using the system and going in to the ER uninsured for medical care. The hardass in me says if I could do it why can't everyone. That's $1.73/hr for a 40 hr work week. It's significant being about 34% of minimum wage so I understand why so many people go uninsured and make the rest of us pay for them via higher rates and higher insurance costs. It's a never ending spiral where I don't know what the answer is. All I know is I don't like paying for my family and other families as well.

On thing that would help us all pay less if there were fewer John Edwards types in the law business. Junk lawsuits contribute heavily to malpractice insurance that of which the doctors just pass on to us through medical costs. But on the other hand do pharmaceutical companies need to make as much as they do on life sustaining medicines? No, they don't. (Medicines like Viagra however? That could be debated :-))That being said, I don't claim to know what everyone else's situation is, but for my family the cost of medications are quite insignificant compared to the cost of a 10 minute doctor visit.

What's the answer? Who knows? It would be nice if someone in politics would come up with some ideas on how to fix it instead of just pointing fingers at the "other guys" being the problem.
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 2385
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 10:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I remember reading that Britain would send its military doctors to the US so that they could get trauma training needed to treat gunshot wounds. I suppose that practice is no longer necessary.

(Message edited by listermann on January 27, 2006)

(Message edited by listermann on January 27, 2006)

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No MoreYears
New Member
Username: Nomoreyears

Post Number: 3
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Friday, January 27, 2006 - 08:27 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"On(e) thing that would help us all pay less if there were fewer John Edwards types in the law business. Junk lawsuits contribute heavily to malpractice insurance that of which the doctors just pass on to us through medical costs."

Contribute, yes. Heavily, no. Eliminating junk lawsuits would save about 30 cents on your $300 monthly premium.

What we really need is a government subsidized private nonprofit insurance system, that offers premiums scaled to subsciber income. I bet you're curious what crack smoking, bedwetting liberal proposed a crazy idea like that. Richard Nixon.

Kerry also proposed an idea where the government is basically a reinsurer for claims over $50K. He wasn't pointing the finger, but actually coming up with a solution that should be looked into and not just thrown out because it was proposed by somebody from the other side. I'm willing to look at the ideas of both Richard Nixon and John Kerry to see if either or both of them contain part of the solution.
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 2386
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Friday, January 27, 2006 - 01:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The thing is to reform the health care system into something useful and efficient, you are going to need to have a profound effect on the commercial insurance industry, like eliminating it. All the contortions that were "Hillarycare" and now we see in Bush's Medicare drug plan are due to trying to help things without eliminating the health insurance industry. Bush actually made it illegal for Medicare to negotiate drug prices. I suppose Kerry's plan also retains the health insurance companies. Sooner or later we are going to have to bite the bullet and go to a single payer system and save the 20% or so that is chewed up in health insurance paperwork not to mention stupid bother. Next month my family goes on its second provider in 6 months.

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No MoreYears
New Member
Username: Nomoreyears

Post Number: 4
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Friday, January 27, 2006 - 05:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"...the contortions that were 'Hillarycare'"

I would be very careful about statements like that. The republicans are trying very hard to make it really easy for her to spy on you when she's president.

I agree that a single payer system is the only way to go. Unfortunately both political parties are in the pocket of the insurance industry. The reality of the looming health care crisis needs to start hitting home for more of middle America. Let's see - the baby boomers are starting to turn 60 this year. It shouldn't be long before the voters of this country care more about fixing health care than they care about gay marriage.
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 2389
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Saturday, January 28, 2006 - 03:27 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Almost everybody is starting to see that their company is having them pay more and more of their insurance costs while their co-pays and deductables keep rising. I might predict that five more years of this and some politician will be able to cash in big time on this issue.

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