Why health care in Canada is better and cheaper than U.S.


By tovarichpeter   Follow   Sat, 19 Jan 2013, 8:36am   855 views   14 comments
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http://news.yahoo.com/canada-provinces-set-strict-caps-generic-drug-prices-223157621--sector.html

Reuters) - Canada's provinces and territories have agreed to tighter caps on the prices of six of the most widely prescribed generic drugs, and that's just the beginning of a coordinated effort to hold down costs, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said on Friday. Aiming to cut high cost of generics for private and government health programs in Canada, the jurisdictions will allow drugstores to charge no more than 18 percent of the price of the brand-name equivalent. "This is a start. There's a lot more work that can be done on generics," Wall, the Prairie province's top elected official, said...

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  1. bob2356


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    1   11:44am Sat 19 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    John Bailo says

    1. Cheap first aid stuff like fixing cuts and getting a flu shot.

    2. Emergency procedures after an accident.

    3. Care for chronic problems

    Remember the movie Major League where Charlie Sheen manages to put a pitch in the announcers booth and Bob Uecker says the pitch is "just a bit outside the plate". Well you are "just bit outside" having somehow missed just a couple little tiny things. How about infections treated with antibiotics? Hardly chronic or emergent. How about things like gallstones, kidneystones, appendicities, tonsillitus, cyst, or any other episodic event? How about screening procedures to catch conditions early and easily treatable. The list goes on and on.

    All chronic conditions are ultimately fatal. Living is ultimately fatal. So you suggestion is to not treat chronic conditions? People have chronic conditions that live for decades. Tony Huesman was the world's longest living heart transplant recipient at 31 years. The 5 year survival rate is over 70%. What is your definition of a short time?

    How do you want to apply your standard to yourself? If you develop a chronic condition that has a treatment that will give you a 70% chance to live over 5 years you are saying you will refuse treatment on your principles? I doubt that.

    A lot of money is spent at end of life. Of course it is. When you treat really sick people who might die, some do. That's for sure end of life spending. It's a tough call, who decides what is end of life and what will be helpful. The US certainly sees over treatment, but it's very frequently at the families "do something for grandma" insistence.

    It's ironic that any suggestion about doing something meets with screams about "death panels" from the exact same people who are complaining about costs.

  2. curious2


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    2   12:02pm Sat 19 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    John Bailo says

    Seems like there's three kinds of health care.

    I would suggest a slightly different list.
    (1) truly public health matters, i.e. curing and preventing communicable disease. The eradication of smallpox did more for national defense than most military campaigns ever do. We also had a chance to eradicate TB in the 1980s, but the funding was cut, so we spend much more treating it now. The development and distribution of vaccines, especially vaccines that can work retroactively on people who are already infected (e.g. rabies, smallpox, hopefully soon TB and HIV), should be a public priority as a component of national defense. Currently, it's less than 10% of total medical spending.

    (2) mixed public/private matters, i.e. the universal risk of unexpected true emergencies where people don't have time to shop around and aren't in a position to take control of the situation. For example, yesterday many people were hit by cars or trucks; none of them expected it. Tomorrow the same will happen, yet none of us can guess who will be involved. This is less than 10% of current spending, and personally I would support a single-payer solution because true emergencies don't allow much time to figure out payment.

    (3) private health matters, e.g. chronic conditions that the individual person can over time find cheaper ways to manage. People should be allowed and expected to take control of their own health. This is most of current spending, and the endless shellgames of third party payers (especially for-profit insurance) and political lobbying have increased the costs of waste, fraud, and abuse dramatically. Currently, most American medical spending consists of waste, fraud, and abuse. (Bob and I have disagreed about the precise % in the past, but the Institute of Medicine found 30%, and many indicators point to a total over 50%.) Obamacare essentially increases that, partly by enabling heavy users of the current system to shift the bulk of their costs onto everyone else through mandatory subsidized insurance while increasing spending still further.

    The Canadian system puts all three categories into single payer. They benefit financially from reducing the inherent costs of private insurance, and from subsidizing medical education so there is less financial pressure on doctors. They achieve better results because medical practices can devote more attention to medicine and less to billing. Also, they distribute vaccines freely, which increases vaccination rates and improves health while reducing costs. The American system, driven by lobbyists, maximizes the most wasteful spending within all three categories, while actually taxing vaccines; from lobbyists' perspective, waste fraud and abuse are revenue opportunities to be maximized, thus we get Obamacare.

  3. carrieon


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    3   9:16pm Sat 19 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Why compare it to just Canada? America has the most expensive and worst healthcare system in the entire western world. With the help of unethical insurance companies and now mandatory taxes, this pyramid will continue to grow until it collapses just like the housing market.

  4. Vaticanus


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    4   9:41pm Sat 19 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike  

    carrieon says

    Why compare it to just Canada? America has the most expensive and worst healthcare system in the entire western world. Without insurance companies and now mandatory taxes, this pyramid will continue to grow until it collapses just like the housing market.

    I think you are mistaken. It is the almost complete lack of private pay, ie near universal insurance and or Medicare Medicaid insurance coverage that GUARANTEES this health care bubble will continue to grow. Make people responsible for their own costs and you will see prices come WAY down. For example, India. Why can I get quality care for pennies on the dollar there vs here? Answer, in India I don't have to pay for all deadbeats, the onerous American regulations, and the exorbitant tuition of American Med schools. In India I just pay the actual cost of performing the proceedure. No markup for marketing, no skimming by the insurance company, no beurocratic red tape expenses.

  5. elliemae


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    5   9:35am Wed 23 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)   Protected  

    If people had the ability to see an MD on a regular basis, many chronic conditions would be addressed before they're emergent.

    I'm surprised that no one said anything about the waiting lists in Canada, which they assume don't exist here in the USA. Since I know several people who are on waiting lists for medical procedures, that's a bunch of bullshit.

    An example is myself: I made an appointment with a specialist for a chronic diseased I'm blessed to have... at least six months before I can get in to see him. Luckily I have treatment while I'm waiting, but if I didn't Elliemae would be in the hospital sucking up the dollars when it became acute.

    Drugs are expensive, but they don't have to be.

  6. errc


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    6   10:00am Wed 23 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike (1)  

    I'm not so sure I accept the premise that more preventative care will lessen our collective costs. The people that go to the doctors looking for something to be wrong, and accept a drug as a solution, will just wind up with more "ailments" and more drugs, which will make them more sick

    Take diabetes and the litany of similar conditions that arise from poor nutrition and bad dietary consumption. For the majority of people, all that they need do is to "fix" their 'diet'. Eliminate the food stuffs/ food substitutes they consume that lead to these conditions. Better access to quality nutritional information, instead of the misinformation the usfedgov churns out and literally forces the hand of the citizenry thru price manipulations and subsidies. Many could benefit much more simply from access to a quality nutritionist, parlayed with the ability to execute a dietary plan

    Its just not palatable to remind people that they are what they eat, and their health is mostly within their own control. Society treats other substance abusers so differently, than they do sugar abusers,and people that eat foods that make them ill. Why isn't there addiction treatment facilities and rehabilitation support groups for sugar addicts, like there are for alcoholics?

    This current approach to force everyone to pay protection money to the private health insurance mafia, just lessens personal responsibility even more. We need the opposite, good informationa and a free populace that can take their health into their own hands

    A hundred years ago, your local doctor would come by the house with a briefcase full of weed, coke, heroin and some booze, and fix you up good. Now that stuff is all illegal, and was replaced with more dangerous lab produced pharmaceuticals. I want nothing to do with this boondoggle

  7. elliemae


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    7   11:28am Wed 23 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)   Protected  

    errc says

    Take diabetes and the litany of similar conditions that arise from poor nutrition and bad dietary consumption. For the majority of people, all that they need do is to "fix" their 'diet'. Eliminate the food stuffs/ food substitutes they consume that lead to these conditions. Better access to quality nutritional information, instead of the misinformation the usfedgov churns out and literally forces the hand of the citizenry thru price manipulations and subsidies. Many could benefit much more simply from access to a quality nutritionist, parlayed with the ability to execute a dietary plan

    Absolutely. However, if a person has a condition that is causing him pain or discomfort and can't afford to see a physician, the condition becomes worse to the point that it is acute and hence a trip to the ER. Admission, followed by diagnostics and treatments in the inpatient setting... then discharge with a list of medications and recommendation to follow up with primary physician.

    The patient can't afford a primary physician and doesn't qualify for the medications, so they return to the ER when it becomes acute again.

    By preventative care, I mean access to ongoing medical care so that chronic conditions don't become acute.

  8. curious2


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    8   11:33am Wed 23 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Politicians try to sell mandatory insurance by claiming that preventive care or routine care will save money, but that is the opposite of reality, as Massachusetts found with RomneyCare. The issue has been studied repeatedly, and the results are always the same: on the whole, preventive care does not save money, and much of it can actually be injurious, although there are a few exceptions (e.g. vaccines):

    "Although some preventive measures do save money, the vast majority reviewed in the health economics literature do not. Careful analysis of the costs and benefits of specific interventions, rather than broad generalizations, is critical. Such analysis could identify not only cost-saving preventive measures but also preventive measures that deliver substantial health benefits relative to their net costs; this analysis could also identify treatments that are cost-saving or highly efficient (i.e., cost-effective)."

    Most emergency hospitalizations among Medicare patients are actually caused by legal drugs. One reason is because PhRMA manipulates doctors into prescribing more expensive drugs that are also more dangerous. Putting more people into that environment results, predictably, in more hospitalizations.

    Sticking your head in the lion's mouth on a routine basis is not always good for your health.

  9. errc


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    9   11:58am Wed 23 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike (1)  

    Or as my grandpappy used to say

    Don't start no shit won't be no shit

    I can see it now, 50 million people prescribed adderral and ill be forced to pay for it. Yet if I wanted to go buy some street adderral also known as crystal meth, id be a felon. How anyone in the field sleeps at night agter drugging children with that dangerous and harmful and addictive shit is beyond me,,,but than again, there's tens of millions prescribed the cholesterol drugs, when all that would be required is a change in diet and some better understanding of the hocus pocus lipid profiles

  10. Zlxr


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    10   5:01pm Wed 23 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    The idea of eating right is great - but we would have a huge food shortage if everyone tried to eat healthy organic food.

    Also what about all the drugs for kids who can't sit still. It's only really become a disease since man decided to become sedentary. A physical therapist who worked in our dept. told me once that the real problem was an inner ear thing and that these so called hyper active children need to exercise and especially do some somersaults. I do believe there is something to that. If they have to do anything special for these kids - it should be mandatory P.E. first thing in the morning with the right exercises and plenty of running or dancing.

    Maybe some people just weren't made to sit still - but that doesn't mean they have a disease.

  11. Thedaytoday


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    11   5:02pm Wed 23 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    Zlxr says

    The idea of eating right is great - but we would have a huge food shortage if everyone tried to eat healthy

  12. curious2


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    12   5:06pm Wed 23 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Zlxr says

    Maybe some people just weren't made to sit still - but that doesn't mean they have a disease.

    Basically children are being diagnosed as "eligible for benefits". If they're eligible, there's a pill for that.

    Meanwhile adults are diagnosed with "Prozac deficiency", a grave condition that may affect 100% of the population according to the definition.

  13. curious2


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    13   5:20pm Wed 23 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    You're right about home testing and first aid, in fact I think those should be part of public education.

    Zlxr says

    And it would be nice to have a good lab to go to and have some "well tests" to see if you are on track for your health as far as your blood, illnesses and parasites go.

    There is little if any evidence to support most lab tests for asymptomatic patients, in fact some of them may cause serious harm. If you suspect intestinal parasites, food-grade DE is cheap (avoid animal feed-grade, use only food-grade) or anti-helmintics that require an Rx here are available cheaply OTC in other countries where parasites are common. Many women are fooled into spending $$$ on mammograms (potentially injurious radiation), even if they are too young to benefit; that will become mandatory with Obamacare.

  14. FortWayne


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    14   5:50pm Wed 23 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Canada isn't covering sex change operations per state requirements like the state of CA does.

    Small example, but stuff like that adds up. All the expensive required operations, unnecessary tests, people not shopping around for better prices, combined with unhealthy population and medical monopolies.... costs go through the roof.

    We have some distant relatives in Canada, they don't think their healthcare system is that great.

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