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Be careful what you ask for...

July 12, 2006

Because you just might get it…

If you’ve been reading my daily rants for any length of time you know by now I’m no spring chicken. And one of the inevitable side effects of getting old is everyone around me is getting older too.

Literally everyone I know is over the hill…friends…family member…even my dog. Every one except my wife of course – she’s a vision of perfection just like the day we met :)

So what do old fogies talk about when we get together?

Well there’s the weather and our grandchildren – but as of late the #1 topic of our conversations has been the rising cost of health care.

And in just about every conversation I’ve had on the subject someone inevitably brings up the subject of Socialized Medicine.

Now that might have made you wince a bit -- because I know on the surface free healthcare sounds like a grand idea. But is that really the answer to our problems? Is life usually that easy?

Personally I don’t think so. The first thing you have to remember is – NOTHING IS FREE.

First, let’s take a look at our neighbors to the north -- Canada’s government funded universal health care system includes provisions for a primary physician and hospital services -- with ZERO co-payments or patient charges of any kind.

Basically you don’t have to pay a cent for any type of medical treatment – except for elective procedures like plastic surgery or hormone replacement therapy (unless prescribed by your doctor).

Sounds great right? And it would be in a perfect world – however Canada’s government funded medical programs have come under some heavy fire as of late. The most notable problems have been:


On June 9, 2005 the Canadian Supreme Court ruled on a case in which a patient with help from his primary physician sued the province of Quebec after waiting a year for hip replacement surgery.

Turning the spot light on the ongoing problems with patient waiting lists in Canada -- the court then ruled to overturn a long standing prohibition on private medical insurance for available medical services.

Allowing Canadians the option to pay for the required procedure if they so choose.

The courts found that waiting lists for health care services have resulted in numerous deaths… increased the length of time of patients living with pain…and reduced the average patient’s ability to enjoy a high quality of life.

The Canadian public is split – but I think at the end of the day they’ll like having a choice.

It’s sad -- here in the US if a convicted murderer on death row were in need of hip replacement surgery, I’d wager he’d be on the operating table by the end of the week – paid for with tax payer’s dollars at that.

If we tried putting him on a waiting list the ACLU would have a field day. Can you imagine convicted murderers living in pain?! That just wouldn’t be right – but it’s OK for average Canadian citizen thanks to socialized medicine!

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But the vast majority of Canadian doctors do believe that a major reform is needed. And they think a big part of that should be to allow at least a small contingent of private health care practices to pick up some of the slack.

And I couldn’t agree more. I think another very valid reason for allowing for at least some privatization is quality of care. Not only do you get what you pay for – but look at this from a young doctor’s perspective.

Imagine you just spent the last 10 years of your life studying 12 hours a day to practice medicine. Where would you set up shop?

Canada where you’re basically a government salaried employee -- or would you move a little farther south and start up your practice here in the US where you could name your price?

That’s right! And that’s why we attract the best doctors from all around the world – India – China – Pakistan – Canada -- you name it.

It’s a no brainier. Even with cost of malpractice insurance sky rocketing we’re still able to attract the best of the best.

People fly in from all over the world to take advantage of our cutting edge medical procedures and specialists. Canadians come too just to avoid the long waiting lists – a few are looking for a higher quality of care not found in their home country.

Now I’d love to fix this and every other problem I come across – but since I don’t have any intelligent advice on how to fix this or the dysfunctional Medicare system here in my own country. The best advice I can give to my fellow dollar strapped Americans is to stay healthy!

Eat right – exercise daily – and try to laugh and enjoy life. Make sure you’re getting checked out by your doctor regularly because the best medicine is preventative medicine.

And the next time you hear someone bring up the subject of socialized medicine. Tell them to imagine what it would be like if their doctor’s office was run more like the DMV.

See what they have to say about that.

Stay Healthy!

Doc Darville

Important Note

All information presented in the NaureCast News is for informational purposes only. It is not meant as specific medical advice -- and any and all information presented in the NatureCast News should not be considered as medical advice or instruction. You should take no action on any advice contained here in. Readers are strongly advised to seek the advice of a certified health professional about any issues of health or well being. The opinions contained in the NatureCast News are believed to be sensible advice but can in no way meant to replace the advice of sound medical council.