|Do We Really Want CANADA’s’ Type of HEALTHCARE?
By Dr. Chuck McGowen
According to a survey of Canadian physicians by the Fraser Institute, waiting lists are a major problem in the healthcare delivery system of our neighbor and ally to the north. 800,000 Canadians are waiting for treatment at any given time. The average passage of time from the patient’s referral by a primary care physician through a consultation with a specialist, to final treatment, across all specialties, averaged 17.7 weeks in 2005 and that doesn’t include the time the patient spent waiting to see the primary care physician in the first place. In an article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal at least 50 patients in Ontario alone have died in the past 12 months while on the waiting list for a cardiac catheterization. It is also an undisputed fact that many Canadians waiting for various treatments suffer chronic pain die while on the waiting list. That bit of sad information came directly from Canadian Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin in a 2005 decision striking down part of Quebec’s universal care law.
Physicians are also in short supply partly because Canadians wanting to become physicians come to America for training and those who do train in Canada move south across our northern boarder to practice in the border states of New York, Montana and Washington. Canada has roughly 2.1 practicing physicians per 10,000 people, far less than the 24 physicians per 10,000 people in the United States. Worse, the number of physicians per 1,000 people has not grown at all since 1990. Today in our country fewer than 30% of medical school graduates are planning on entering a primary care practice in Family Medicine or Internal Medicine. Availability of access to high technology is also limited in Canada. The US has 5 times as many MRI units per million people as does Canada. The US has 3 times as many CT scanners. In point of fact, there are more CT scanners in the city of Seattle than in the entire province of British Columbia.
Preventive care has also suffered under the socialized, government controlled medical system in Canada. U.S. patients are actually more likely than Canadians to receive preventive care for chronic or serious health conditions. For example, the US healthcare system is better at common screenings such as breast cancer (mammograms), cervical cancer (Gyn visits with pap smears), prostate cancer (PSA studies) and colon cancer (colonoscopies)
59% of Canadians believe that their system requires “fundamental changes.” 18% believe the system needs to be scrapped and totally rebuilt. If we are about to receive what the President and his supporters in Congress want to give us, the so called “public option” we too will be experiencing what a majority of Canadians would like to see fundamentally changed; but, believe me when I warn, then it will be all too late!
Monday, October 05, 2009, 02:09 PM