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[IP] Re: insulin-pumpers-digest V6 #750

> Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 23:57:46 -0500
> From: Darrin Parker <email @ redacted>
> Subject: [IP] Re: Misconceptions About Canadian Health Insurance
> Dear members:
> I must comment on this one.
> Canadian (socialized healthcare):
> The only item paid for by government are any procedures carried out
> within a hospital and doctor consultations.

Included in that are hospital emergency visits -- which do not require
pre-approval as is sometimes the case in the U.S. -- and anything done in a
hospital, whether a simple blood test or major surgery (also not requiring
an insurance company's approval unless it's elective surgery). We pay higher
taxes for the privilege of not paying cash for our doctor visits and
surgeries. I live in Ontario and last year had eye surgery -- for free. I
continue to see my endocrinologist and ophthalmologist regularly -- for
free. On the other hand, my brother, who lives in California, had a couple
of heart attacks four years ago, and is still paying his hospital bills to
this day.

Also covered are blood tests, x-rays, etc., at your doctor's office, at a
local clinic, including walk-ins, or at a hospital or specialized lab.
Routine eye exams are covered in most provinces, though you're limited to
one every year or two, except in emergency circumstances.

You do not pay to see a doctor, whether a family physician or a specialist.
Some specialist visits and services are covered through private health
insurance. You do not pay to take an ambulance in an emergency.
> We pay 100% after-tax  cash for all prescription drugs including
> insulin and pumps and supplies.

True. If you are low-income, however, most provinces have programs (such as
Trillium in Ontario) that will pay most of the cost of required drugs, such
as insulin. If what you require is not on the "approved" list, your doctor
(at least in Ontario) can fill out a form for an exemption in your case.
This does not, admittedly, extend to pumps or pump or testing supplies.

Medical expenses, if high enough, can also be used as a tax deduction.
> We pay 30-65% taxes on payroll plus another  (in most provinces) 15%
> sales tax allegedly for healthcare.

See above. It's worth it. I have friends in the States who are ill and
cannot afford to see a specialist. This is a crime.

> Back in NS, where I used to live, pumps were forbidden and to
> this day the meal plan and two injections per day is the norm.  Carb
> counting and pumps are illegal.

Please explain this "forbidden" and "illegal". I have heard no such thing,
and I'm a fairly well informed person. No province would get away with
declaring pumps, let alone carb-counting, "illegal". Let's not create more

> ONe must understand Canadians pay more per Capita than any other
> people (thru taxes) for healthcare but as of (I remember) 1998 rated
> 16th in the western world for healthcare quality.

This is a complex, tangled issue that cannot be reduced to taxes = good
health care. Long waiting lists are not unheard of in the States, nor are
long waits in a doctor's office, nor long waits to see a specialist.
Emergency wards are full up for many reasons, not simply because there isn't
enough money or because "socialized healthcare does not work." There are
not, for instance, enough incentives to create long-term care institutions,
so many people are in emergency wards because they're waiting for a hospital
bed because there's no long-term place for them to go. Many people "misuse"
emergency wards by visiting when they have the flu, or a sore throat, or all
kinds of other non-emergencies that can be dealt with at walk-in clinics or
by a family physician. Yes, there are problems with Canada's healthcare
system, and yes, major change is required. But, even if I wasn't a diabetic,
I'd still take our system any day over what I hear from south of the border
-- no offence!

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