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June 02, 2006

Canadian Healthcare Update

Adam at Highly Obsessed has been having some knee troubles. I have covered the process of getting an MRI in Canada and the umpteen month wait list, but it turns out that he could drive to Buffalo and get his MRI the next day for $450. Well, he got the MRI and went in to the Ortho in Canada for the results. NOT GOOD!

The folks in Buffalo think I tore my ACL. The surgeon is apt to believe them (and rightly so. Also, I don't think I've mentioned this, but this surgeon is a great guy, very smart, and coincidentially operated on my mother several years ago when she shattered her wrist while in-line skating. But that's another story altogether).

There is a chance, depending on the type of tear, that it will heal on its own. But regardless, the surgeon recommended getting scoped. That way, they can at least have a look at where I tore the ACL/the severity of the tear. If I don't need anything done, then no procedure is performed and away I go. If I do do need some work done, they will perform it then.

So of course, this being Ontario and all, when will I get the surgery? Six to eight months from now.

Six to Eight months. It is free, but by then, the problem could already be partially healed and need further treatment. His Doctor told him basically, just go about your business. Not a lot you can do but wait six to eight months.

But healthcare in Canada is FAR FROM FREE. You see, Canadians pay huge amounts for their healthcare in the way of taxes. And for their hard earned tax dollars, this is what they get. They get universal healthcare, it is just universally frustrating to wait months for routine proceedures.

We take a lot of things for granted in this country, and if you have no healthcare coverage at all, a six month wait for free care is a good deal. But for the 10-15% of our population or so that does not have any health coverage, this may be a good deal, but for the other 85%, I think I would rather pay my copays and my $350 a month premium contributions to my work's plan, and get in right away and get quality healthcare.

There is an old saying: you can have quality, speed, or low cost service, but never all three. When it comes to my health, waiting months for an MRI or Arthroscopic surgery is not an option. I don't mind paying more to get my care quickly and at the highest quality.

Posted by Justin at June 2, 2006 12:25 PM