April 11, 2008, 6:00 am

We Are Living In A Good Country

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Uncategorized
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A few weeks ago, I was discussing the fact that I was ready to pay for healthcare. This was in reaction to Brip Blap’s post about free healthcare. I couldn’t understand his point as I thought a public and private system could work at the same time. I personally thought it would be the best way of providing efficient care to the population. After a few reactions, I decided to take a step back and think about it again.

In order to look deeper at Brip Blap’s point of view, I decided to watch Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko. I knew his point was to show the horrors behind America’s healthcare system.

I watched the entire movie and I was shocked. Even thought I was well aware that Mr. Moore is probably only showing what he wants us to see in order to prove our point (there are several place in Canada where you need to wait way more than 45 minutes as the movie suggests), there must be a part of truth.

I was quite surprise to find out that insurance companies were investing so much money in order to not pay their customers. I know that insurance companies are evil (it the essence of the industry, just as banks, right? LOL!), but I never came across such things on my side of the border. The very few times I called my insurer (for car or house), everything went well and I was reimbursed according to the contract I signed.

This is where I realized that we are living in a good country. We don’t need to wonder if we are insured or not. Even better, we don’t need to worry about the possibility of our insurer not paying for our medical bills. We have free medical care; period.

The other thing I didn’t realize was the enormous cost of operations hospitals were charging. 60K for a finger??? I never thought I had the equivalent of 10 BMW’s when I was looking at my hands! I thought that by paying $50 buck for a visit to the clinic, I would be covering a good part of the cost. That is probably what it costs to only open my file and read through it!

So I now realize how lucky we are to not to have to worry about our healthcare system. In the end, as long they can take care of us for free, waiting a few hours doesn’t seem to be catastrophic anymore.

Who would want to leave a place where medical care is free and where their hockey team will win the cup this year? That’s decided; I am staying in Montreal for good!

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Good conclusion!

The true cost of health care (anywhere) is astounding. The other thing is that don’t assume a private system would involve no wait times.

I’m going to have to post about this.

Habs still suck (but I’m cheering for them)

That sounds good if you only comapre with the US but when you compare our health care system with Western Europe, Canada is way behind. IN France, Belgium and other countries co-exist public and private system and people have options. Somethingwe do not have here. Let’s stop comparing all the time with the US ans start comapring with countries that have similar system than us.

by: The Financial Blogger | April 11th, 2008 (12:21 pm)

FP : Habs are going to win the cup, just accept it 😀

Jesus: You are right that our system is not perfect, However, I feel better knowing that we can still have free healthcare !

Very interesting! I haven’t seen Sicko, so I can’t say much about it, but it clearly impressed you. I think you hit on the heart of it – in America, you are always seconds away from being uninsured unless you are wealthy enough to afford individual private insurance – and as someone with a six figure salary and a family (soon) of four, I am not able to. Your insurance is dependent on your employers’ whims, and more and more employers are just throwing their hands up and making the insurance more and more expensive for the employees – because we have no choice. And if you want to be an entrepreneur or consultant, forget about it – getting insured is a nightmare.

So I’m under no illusions that Canada’s system is perfect but after seeing the train wreck of the American health care system up close through my wife’s two pregnancies, I’d be willing to try a different model, although our three presidential candidates aren’t really proposing anything dramatically different from our current (broke) system.

thanks for a very thought-provoking post!

Interesting topic.

I also read Brip Blap’s post, which was also interesting. It really saddens me to realize that there is no debate at all about a public health care system in the United States. I just cannot understand why the average American is not rising up to bring this kleptocratic, corporate-led country down. Honest. If a small portion of the hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars that go to National Defense was spent on treating and taking care of US citizens, the United States would be the best country to live in the world. I lived in Europe for a few years and I can tell you that taxes are higher, yes, but poverty is down, way down. In Sweden a child born in a poor family has 4/5 chances of escaping poverty through the benefits and the existing social net provided by taxpayers (yes, those dreaded taxes…). In the United states, only 1/5 child born in poverty has any chance of escaping the fate of his parents.

I just do not understand why the prospect of raising taxes is considered as worse a fate as banning automatic rifles and semi-automatic pistols. How can that be?

Giving part of your salary to your government so that it can redistribute it to poorer segments of society is part of a social contract: helping out your neighbor, giving him cheap housing and allowing him to be given the same health care rights as everyone else e is expensive, true, but it is the socially responsible thing to do.


[…] The Financial Blogger presents We Are Living In A Good Country. […]

But your healthcare is NOT free. You pay for it in the ridiculously high taxes you pay and you pay for it for all the people who are mooching off the system and not paying their fair share. And if the Canadian system is so great then why are the border towns in Washington overflowing with Canadians coming down to get health care here because they have to wait ages and ages there. Or the people who end up DYING because their surgery is postponed due to the “free” system. Sometimes you get what you pay for. There’s never really anything for free and it drives me bonkers to hear people expecting a free lunch.

The U.S. system is not perfect but it’s better than anything else out there.


“But your healthcare is NOT free.”

Of course it is not. It is paid through government levied taxes.

“You pay for it in the ridiculously high taxes you pay”

Ridiculously high? How’s that? According to the OECD, that “ridiculously high taxes” is not more than 2% than the United States!!!! (http://www.finfacts.com/irelandbusinessnews/publish/printer_1000article_10005354.shtml)

The difference between the taxes levied in the United States and the taxes levied in Canada (very similar as you can see) is what you actually do with those taxes: do you buy Apache gunships, missile defense systems, and or do you provide universal health care?

“and you pay for it for all the people who are mooching off the system and not paying their fair share.”

Yes, and I proudly do so. There are injustices, there will always be, but I prefer not to make the situation worse by denying the vast majority of valid claims with anecdotal claims of “mooching off the system”

“And if the Canadian system is so great then why are the border towns in Washington overflowing with Canadians coming down to get health care here because they have to wait ages and ages there.”

Ahh, the old canard. Did you know that a study published by the government of Ontario in 2006 revealed that more than 37 000 fake health cards were used by American citizens to get free treatment across the border!?! Yes, 37 000!!! Of course these are people who can’t afford it.

It is a recognized problem in Canada that people with a lot cash can get faster treatment in the United States. No system is perfect. But it is also true that a huge black market exists where Ontario pays through the roof for American citizens to get treated at our expenses. But if have to make a choice, I prefer to have some rich Canadians get treated in the US (they have already paid their taxes after all) than have more than 47 millions (yes, 47 millions in the United States!!!) citizens with no health care whatsoever.

“Or the people who end up DYING because their surgery is postponed due to the “free” system.”

Hundreds of thousands die every year in the US…because they don’t even have a chance to get on any “waiting list”. Is that better? A New York times article published in the 1990’s detailed a doctor’s dismay at a system that forced him to ignore dying people on the streets for fear that bystanders may not be able to afford his pricey treatments or that lawsuits that too often followed.

“Sometimes you get what you pay for.”

Oh thats true. According to the OECD, Canada ranks 17th in the world for health care. We used to be, in the 1990’s at the very top. We haven’t invested in our system recently and we are consequently paying a higher price as a result. The United States, however, ranks 35th! That is the bottom of all industrialized nation! Indeed, the OECD said that lack of any universal plan meant that the United States ranked similar to developing nations when it came to infant mortality! Of course you get what you pay for. You are right after all.

“There’s never really anything for free and it drives me bonkers to hear people expecting a free lunch.”

It is not free. All Canadians are paying for it. Many think that their health care is “free”. They are wrong. But as it is you are equally completely wrong in saying that the US system “is better than anything out there”. The OECD, the highest recognized body of authority in this matter, summed in up quite succinctly in its report: “France has the best health care in the world. The United States has the best emergency care in the world. Provided you can afford it.”

by: The Financial Blogger | April 15th, 2008 (8:49 pm)

considering the fact that we have a life expectancy about 2 years more than the Americans, I guess that not everybody is dying in our hospital…

I am well aware that we are paying for our service through our taxes but if I, my wife or my children would get sick before I reach the age of 35, we would never be able to afford medical care. If I’m paying 10K in taxes more than the average American per year for free health care and education, I think it worth it after all.