How world-class health care works – or not


Welcome to Canada!  – also known to our American neighbours to the south as “Commie Pinko Land of Socialized Medicine”.

My 0wn province of British Columbia here on Canada’s gorgeous west coast has what I – and many others far above my pay grade – consider to be a world-class universal health care system.  Over 80% of us, in fact, consistently rate this health care as “excellent” or “very good“. 

Still, as a career PR person, I usually approach awareness communications like this video with a certain skeptical disdain.  To my surprise, I found it made a lot of sense to me.  Continue reading “How world-class health care works – or not”

Where would you rather get sick – in the U.S. or in Canada?

by Carolyn Thomas

I have an ever-so-slightly jaded view of American health care since spending time at Mayo Clinic. While there, I met an alarming number of heart attack survivors from across the U.S. – yes, even those who thought they had good health insurance coverage  – who had lost their homes, their businesses, and faced collection agencies at the door or even imminent bankruptcy because they’d had a cardiac event that had left them with crushing medical debt.

Last month in Toronto, the 5th semi-annual Munk Debate featured the Great Health Care Debate resolution: “I would rather get sick in the United States than in Canada.”  Here are some of the pros and cons raised by each side during this debate:

I would rather get sick in the U.S. because:

  • The U.S. spends 87% more per person than Canada on health care ($7,290/patient vs. $3,895).
  • 54% of American men had PSA tests for prostate cancer. Only 16% of Canadian men did.
  • There are 34 CT scanners per million citizens in the U.S. In Canada, only 12.
  • There are 27 MRI machines per million citizens in the U.S. compared to just six in Canada.
  • Canadians wait twice as long as Americans for elective surgery like hip replacements.
  • The U.S. is responsible for the vast majority of health care innovations, both medically and technologically. They are the world’s undisputed leaders in biomedical research and diagnostic treatment.

But on the other hand, here’s why it’s better to get sick in CanadaContinue reading “Where would you rather get sick – in the U.S. or in Canada?”

Why you should have your heart attack in Canada

As much as I’ve tried so far to keep my nose out of the health care reform circus that’s happening with our dear neighbours to the south, I can’t resist sharing a wee dose of reality from Canada (also known to some Americans as “Commie Pinko Land of Socialized Medicine”).

A piece in the Washington Post reminded me this week that, in other democracies of the developed world, patients are somehow receiving medical care that is not only universal, it’s actually considered better and cheaper than care in America.

In fact, the World Health Organization now ranks the U.S. 37th in the world in terms of quality health care access. American infant mortality rates (an oft-quoted criterion for how well countries are caring for their citizens) are double those of most Western countries. Almost all advanced countries have better national health statistics than the United States does.

The U.S. health care system forces over 700,000 Americans to declare bankruptcy every year.  In France, the number of medical bankruptcies is zero. Britain: zero. Japan: zero. Germany: zero. Canada: zero. Yet I’ve actually read warnings from U.S. health reform opponents that reform will somehow mean a slippery slope towards the ‘horrors of Canadian medicine”. Seriously. Continue reading “Why you should have your heart attack in Canada”