18 September 2004
Don't get sick in the Great White North
Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute, a group which might be characterized by Big Media as a "conservative think tank" if it's just a "think tank" with no qualifier, they mean it leans left has written a book called Miracle Cure: How to Solve America's Health-Care Crisis and Why Canada Isn't the Answer. Some of what she's found out:
In theory, Canadians enjoy an almost ideal system the government pays for all necessary health care, which is delivered by private practice physicians and independent hospitals. The day-to-day reality is starkly different. When Canadians need care, they face a series of waits: one for access to a primary care doctor, another for access to scarce diagnostic equipment, and another for the necessary procedure.
Between 1993 and 2003, the median waiting time from referral by a general practitioner to treatment increased by 90 percent, from 9.3 weeks to 17.7 weeks, according to an annual survey of physicians by the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute. For cancer patients, the waiting time for medical oncology more than doubled from 2.5 weeks to 6.1 weeks, and the waiting time for radiation oncology increased from 5.3 weeks to 8.1 weeks.
For comparison, I offer the time-frames from my recent illness, which I consider to have begun on the 4th of September, that being the day I decided to seek medical assistance rather than ride it out. The 4th, I note, is a Saturday.
I can see why Canadians might want to spend a few loonies south of the border.
(Via Eternity Road)