CANADA’s HEALTH CARE system (ARCHIVE)


FUNDAMENTAL REFORM. IT, TOO, A UNIVERSAL NATIONAL HEALTH CARE SYSTEM. CRITICS UNHAPPY WITH HEALTH CARE IN THE UNITED STATES OFTEN POINT TO CANADA AS A MODEL. CANADA HAS A SINGLE PAYER SYSTEM THAT COVERS EVERYONE. AND MOST CANADIANS ARE HAPPY WITH THEIR HEALTH CARE. KITTY PILGRIM WITH OUR REPORT.>>Reporter: IN THE LARGEST SURVEY OF HEALTH CARE EVER, 92% OF CANADIANS SAY THEY LIKE THEIR DOCTORS SO MUCH THEY WOULD RECOMMEND THEM TO FAMILY OR FRIENDS. IN CANADA, PRIMARY HEALTH CARE PHYSICIANS ARE BASICALLY FAMILY DOCTORS AND HANDLE EVERYTHING THROUGH A PRIVATE PRACTICE, PHYSICAL, MENTAL HEALTH, MATERNITY, PEDIATRICS, GERIATRICS, SAYS AN AUTHOR OF 18 BOOKS ON CANADIAN HEALTH LAW.>>THIS IS NOT SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT PROVIDE DOCTORS, DOES NOT PROVIDE HOSPITALS. YOU GO TO WHATEVER DOCTOR YOU WANT, JUST AS YOU DO HERE AND DOCTORS CAN EITHER TAKE MORE PATIENTS OR NOT TAKE PATIENTS. IT’S UP TO THEM. AND THE SAME IS TRUE WITH HOSPITALS.>>Reporter: ALL CANADIANS HAVE HEALTH COVERAGE THROUGH THE GOVERNMENT. 70% OF HEALTH CARE IS PUBLICLY FUNDED AND 30% IS PRIVATELY FUNDED. EACH PROVINCE RUNS ITS OWN HEALTH CARE BUDGET, ALTHOUGH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SUPPLEMENTS SOME PROVINCES THAT ARE NOT AS PROSPEROUS AS OTHERS. IT IS A VERY COST-EFFECTIVE SYSTEM. ONLY 10% OF GDP COMPARED TO NEARLY 16% OF THE U.S. ECONOMY. AND CANADA ONLY SPENDS SOME $3,895 A YEAR, THAT’S ABOUT HALF OF THE EXPENDITURE FOR EVERY PERSON IN THE UNITED STATES. BUT LESS EXPENSIVE DOESN’T SEEM TO IMPLY LESS EFFECTIVE HEALTH CARE. IN CANADA, MALE LIFE EXPECTANCY IS 78 YEARS, VERSUS THE AVERAGE OF 75 YEARS IN THE UNITED STATES. CANADA DOES HAVE ITS PROBLEMS, THE MOST FREQUENTLY CITED, LONG WAIT TIMES FOR SOME TREATMENTS.>>THAT’S OUR BIGGEST PROBLEM IN CANADA. WE HAVE A VERY GOOD SYSTEM, GOOD QUALITY, BUT WE HAVE WAIT TIMES. AND THIS IS ONE THING WE WANT TO FIX IN OUR SYSTEM, TO FIX THAT PROBLEM OF WAIT TIMES. BECAUSE IT’S UNACCEPTABLE.>>Reporter: MANY DOCTORS WOULD HELP. CANADA HAS A SHORTAGE. ONE DOCTOR FOR EVERY 526 PEOPLE COMPARED ONE FOR EVERY 418 PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES. DOCTORS ARE PAID CONSIDERABLY LESS THAN THEIR U.S. COUNTERPARTS, BUT LAWSUITS ARE NOT AS COMMON IN CANADA AND GUIDELINES FOR DAMAGES WERE SET BACK IN 1978 BY THE CANADIAN SUPREME COURT. THE CANADIAN MEDICAL PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION PAYS DAMAGES AND PROVIDES LEGAL COUNSEL FOR DOCTORS WHO ARE SUED. NOW, IN A RECENT CANADIAN POLL, 82% OF CANADIANS SAY THEY BELIEVE THEIR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IS BETTER THE UNITED STATES. HEALTH CARE AND 70% OF CANADIANS THINK THEIR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IS WORKING WELL. ONLY 12% THINK THE CANADIAN SYSTEM SHOULD BE MORE PRIVATELY FUNDED. LOU?>>SO THERE’S ACTUALLY LESS SATISFACTION WITH THE CANADIAN HEALTH CARE PLAN IN CANADA THAN THERE IS IN THE UNITED STATES.>>WELL, THEY LIKE THEIR DOCTORS AND LIKE MOST OF THE SYSTEMS. THE LONGEST — THE BIGGEST PROBLEM THERE IS THE WAIT TIME THAT THEY HAVE TO WAIT LONGER FOR THEIR OPERATIONS.>>AND OBVIOUSLY, A NUMBER OF CANADIANS COME TO THE UNITED STATES FOR PROCEDURES OF ALL SORTS. THAT’S ALSO AN ISSUE. THEY ALSO HAVE A FALLBACK SYSTEM, IF YOU WILL. BUT INTERESTINGLY, THAT RATIO OF DOCTORS TO THE GENERAL POPULATION, ONE TO 518, I THINK YOU SAID, SOMETHING IN THAT ORDER, THAT’S FAR WORSE, 20% WORSE THAN THE UNITED STATES.>>IT’S WORSE THAN THE UNITED STATES, THEY HAVE A VERY BIG SHORTAGE OF DOCTORS, AND THAT’S A BIG PROBLEM AND THAT’S WHAT CAUSES SOME OF THE WAIT TIME THAT’S AN ISSUE.>>EVERYONE’S STRUGGLING HERE FOR SOLUTIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS TO THIS SYSTEM. ALL OF THESE ISSUES HAVE TO BE CONFRONTED, ONE WOULD THINK, BY BOTH THE PROPONENTS AND OPPONENTS OF WHAT IS GOING ON IN WASHINGTON, D.C. ALL OF THESE ARE CRITICALLY IMPORTANT ISSUES.>>CANADA’S TRYING TO TRAIN MORE DOCTORS AND THEY’RE DOING

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