The Real Canadian Health Care Field Trip 2009

(Updated and Bumped)
The Independence Institute is holding a Real Canadian Health Care Field Trip today in Vancouver, Canada.

Canadian professionals are saying–
“Don’t do what we’ve done. We will lose our escape valve.”

Health care is currently the hottest domestic political issue. While Congress and President Obama move toward their rationed health care system many American citizens have reservations and concerns about eliminating the free market approach to health insurance and health care options.

Rick Baker, the founder of Timely Medical Alternatives Procedures opened the conference. His organization helps Canadian patients flee Canada to get lifesaving medical care not available to them at home.
From their website:


While recognizing that many Canadians believe that we have one of the best health care systems in the world, the founders of Timely Medical Alternatives Inc. also recognize that there are some 875,000 Canadians currently on the waiting list for referrals to specialists or for medical procedures.

Our organization was formed in 2003 to help Canadians from coast to coast, to “Leave the queue” and take personal responsibility for their own private medical services.. Since then we have helped hundreds of Canadians obtain second medical opinions, MRI’s / CT scans / PET scans (within days) and surgery (within weeks). We have helped our clients to regain their mobility, to get relief from chronic pain, to get diagnoses of illnesses and we have, in some cases, helped to save the lives of a number of our fellow Canadians.

Here I am with Mary Katharine Ham during a break this morning.

Here is a chart on waiting times in Canada posted at the Timely Medical Alternatives Procedures website:

Click to Enlarge

Rick Barker added that in the US the individual is valued more than the government. In Canada the system is more important that the individual case. The Canadian Parliament reported that 100,000 Canadians die each year while sitting on a waiting list for a medical procedure. A two year wait to see a gynecologist is thought to be “totally acceptable.”

Nedeem Esmail the Director of Health System Performance Studies at the Fraser Institute spoke next, his topic…
How Good Is Canadian Health Care?”

— Waiting times are 190 times longer in Saskatchewan than they were in 1990.
— As the risk of death goes down the waiting time goes up.
— A clinically reasonable waiting time is 4 weeks for radiation for cancer treatments.
— Canadians are waiting 45% longer than physicians believe is acceptable.
— You wait 9.7 weeks for a MRI.
— You wait 4.4 weeks for an ultrasound.

This chart on waiting times is from the 2009 report.

There is a four-tiered system in Canada. The rich get to go to the US to get their health care. The less rich go to India. Military members and prisoners are next in line to get care. The average Canadian workers are last in line.

The US currently has the best cancer treatment outcome in the world.
Canada, with a population of 33,000,000, spent $110 billion on “free” health care last year.
Private health care always provides better service as lower costs that is why several former communist countries in Eastern Europe are moving to private health care systems.

** Elderly patients wait the longest in Canada. If you are over 80 you are in big trouble. Sick people, those with hypertension and diabetes, are put at the bottom of the list.

Related… Glenn Reynolds reported this:

CANADIANS PUSH FOR PRIVATE OPTION: “Whereas U.S. health care is predominantly a private system paid for by private insurers, things in Canada tend toward the other end of the spectrum: A universal, government-funded health system is only beginning to flirt with private-sector medicine.” (Via American Power).

Dr. Keith Smith, the co-founder of The Surgery Center of Oklahoma spoke about his “price transparency” practice in Oklahoma City.
From the website:

If you have a high deductible or are part of a self-insured plan at a large company, you owe it to yourself or your business to take a look at our facility and pricing which is listed on this site. If you are considering a trip to a foreign country to have your surgery, you should look here first. Finally, if you have no insurance at all, this facility will provide quality and pricing that we believe are unmatched.

It is no secret to anyone that the pricing of surgical services is at the top of the list of problems in our dysfunctional healthcare system. Bureaucracy at the insurance and hospital levels, cost shifting and the absence of free market principles are among the culprits for what has caused surgical care in the United States to be cost prohibitive. As more and more patients find themselves paying more and more out of pocket, it is clear that something must change. We believe that a very different approach is necessary, one involving transparent and direct pricing.

Transparent, direct, package pricing means the patient knows exactly what the cost of the service will be upfront. Fees for the surgeon, anesthesiologist and facility are all included in one low price. There are no hidden costs, charges or surprises.

Washington is wanting to crush physician-owned hospitals like The Surgery Center of Oklahoma.


Free Market Cure has several interesting videos telling the stories of normal
Canadian patients and the problems they’ve confronted under a nationalized system.

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