Free Health Care in Canada. (NOT)

First off to quote a famous saying. "There is no such thing as a free lunch"

sure I've spent 15 days in the hospital 5 days each, 3 different times, had a lot tests done, had a lot of doctors fawn over me.  Walked out the front door and not had to fill out 1 form or reach for my wallet. 

I have pay about 30% combined Federal and Provincial income taxes. 
I also pay 13% sales tax on everything I buy at the store.

Sin taxes on tobacco and beer are astronomical A 2-4 of beer costs about $50

A 20 pack of cigarettes costs about $15  . I quit over 60 years ago when they were about 35 cents a pack 

And last the taxes on on gasoline is also very expensive.

So yes i do pay for my health care, just not in form of insurance premiums.


Doc DX



Canada Natl Health Care

by Good Dog - 2023-01-26 12:32:11

Nothing in life is free. That includes your health care. However, Natl Health Care is worth every penny. I am sure there are issues, because there isn't one health care system anywhere that does not have issues. I can tell you that the people in the Netherlands pay outrageous taxes, but the majority of their residents have no problem with it. The reason is that they feel that their government takes care of them very well. So they get something back for the taxes they pay. Also, a big part of the benefit with Natl Health Care is that care is provided to folks that otherwise would not be able to afford it. The same with medication. People die or can lose everything they have worked for in this country (U.S.A.) if they cannot afford the care and/or the medication. In that regard; natl health care is also very compassionate. 

.......... BUT it's free when you need it

by IAN MC - 2023-01-26 13:20:15

Canada  ( like most European countries ) has free health care at  " the point of delivery "  i.e. when you're ill , i.e. when you need it.

It saddens me  every time I read a post on here from worried people  who don't enjoy nationalised health care systems. These are usually from stressed people who are concerned about the SIZE of their bills for treatment and for drugs . Any system based on profit is bound to give poorer value than those which aren't !  The U.S.A. is a good example of this. I lived there for a short time and know how much you are being ripped off.

The very time you shouldn't  have to worry about bills is when you're  ill.



no system is perfect

by Tracey_E - 2023-01-27 09:54:03

I am in the US, pay a huge premium every month to an insurance company. Every doctor's appointment, I pay a copay then still get another bill. But, if I need a test, I rarely need to wait more than a day or two. If I don't like my doctor or want another opinion, there's nothing stopping me from finding someone else. I'm never stuck with a doctor I don't like or waiting months for a simple test. But it sure gets expensive. I don't know which system is best, just pointing out that they all have their benefits and faults. 

If you are unable to pay.

by Selwyn - 2023-01-27 12:41:10

Great if you can pay. What happens if you cannot pay?

When I asked this question whilst in Peru about health care, I was told that people go to church, light a candle and pray if they have not got the money for health care/insurance.



by Tracey_E - 2023-01-27 12:49:19

We are comforable financially, but I still sometimes put things off because of the cost. We pay mostly out of pocket until we meet our very large deductible every year. About the only times we've met the deductible are when I need a new battery or the year my husband broke his leg. 

Subsidized plans are available at (supposedly) affordable costs. We do not qualify for those and I've heard it's hard to find doctors that will take them.

Medicare is available for 65+ so in theory the elderly are covered, but it doesn't cover everything. 

Hopsitals are not allowed to ask about insurance status before treating a patient. Which means you can get treatment, but may end up in debt for years. 

Clearly the system is broken and full of flaws, but I don't know what the answer is. 


by IAN MC - 2023-01-27 13:12:22

I wonder what atheists do in Peru ?


Obama Care

by Good Dog - 2023-01-27 14:57:03

To me the problem seems obvious here in the states. There are a group of powerful people that believe that our system provides the best quality of care as a profit based system without strict government controls. I am not sure that is what they really believe, but that is at least a part of the rational they use to fight any potential changes. The same group of people are adamantly opposed to higher taxes that would result from natl health care. Actually, they are opposed to taxes; period. They are powerful and are funded by the insurance, medical and drug Industries, as well as any other industry or business that does not want higher taxes. They fund politicians from both parties to insure they are re-elected. Unfortunately here in the states we have far too many uneducated voters that often repeatedly vote against their own best interests. In recent years we have had leaders in one political party here that has had an interest in pursuing natl health care. Unfortunately, due to the political opposition, the only thing they could pass was the ability to insure the availability of health care to more American's. Not all, but more at a tiered price and coverage schedule. The goal was; not the best insurance, but instead; a plan that would impact taxes the least. Generally, the least expensive coverage under the plan was only catastrophic coverage. The compromises that were necessary to get it passed essentially watered-down the coverage to the extent that many, many people were still unable to afford it. Even at that, there was significant political opposition to it and many attempts were made to try to repeal it. Fortunately, as more voters were able to finally afford coverage under that plan, those attempts and promises to repeal finally abated. However, they only abated, because so many people that otherwise would not have been able to obtain health care finally began to realize the benefits. So we are left with "Obama Care". The bottom line: Health care here remains out-of-reach for many. It is sad and a demonstration of how broken our political system is. It is also a demonstration of where we place our priorities In America; it is Corporate Profits first. Big business and corporations control our priorities through our politics. Compassion be damned for those that cannot afford it!

"without strict government controls"

by AgentX86 - 2023-01-27 17:54:33

You've GOT to be kidding! Ninety percent (or more) of the problem is government interferrence. The insurance market is highly regulated.  ObamaCare, alone, put tens or hundreds of hospitals and a hundred thousand individual doctors out of business, not to mention increasing the cost of insurance and lowering benefits for millions of people. The whole situation with drug prices can be laid at the feet of the PBM (Pharmacy Benefit Managers) but they're right in there with the graft. An innovation in health care is impossible.

If you want even more government control just take a look at the VA.  NO THANKS!

Others, from the other side of the pond, can talk but from what I've been reading the NHS is imploding. Healthcare is expensive, and exceedingly expensive if it's free.

"What happens if you can't pay"

No one is refused life supporting care. It's not going to be gold-plated care but it's care.  No one pays the "sticker price" for hospital care.  Insurance companies only pay a fraction of that (50-60%) and Medicare, from what I can see, pays abiout 30%. I assume, but don't know, that Medicaid pays about the same as Medicare.

Medicare Advantage plans can start out fairly cheap but can have high costs later down the road. Medicaid is there to take up the slack for those who truly can't afford it.  The people in the middle can get stuck but even they don't, or shouldn't pay the whole bill.

Hospital costs are really a mess.  I said that no one pays the entire bill because at the top end, insurance companies contract the costs down to a fraction of the costs.  Medicare/Medicaid do the same for their groups.  The middle can, and do, get their costs negotiated down and the costs not paid are written off by the hospital as "community service", which they claim as the difference between the retail and actual price.  These "community service" write-downs are required to show that the hospital's existence is in the "community good" and can maintain their tax-free status.

Now, tell me again how our government doesn't have strict controls over our medical industry.

A recent law required that hospitals disclose costs for common medical procedures so people can comparison shop, like they do for everything else.  Hospitals have been fighting this like cats in a burlap bag.  The ones who are publishing the information are burying it in the dark recesses of their web sites but most are just ignoring the mandate.  Theoretically things will be changing but so far they're just one-finger saluting the law. Is the DOJ coming down on them? They have better things to do, like going after parents at school board meetings.

Lack of governement controls, my hind end. Government is not the solution.  Government is the problem.

Government Controls

by Good Dog - 2023-01-27 19:24:00

What I was referring to in terms of gov. control is the fact prior to being eligible for medicare, the government has little involvement. That is not to say that it doen't regulate the insurance industry, but the government is not directly involved in setting medical and/or drug costs. Hospitals are free to charge whatever they choose. That changes with Medicare. Medicare is a form of national health care. Thank goodness for Medicare.

Also, the fact that "no one is refused life supporting care, but it isn't gold plated" infers that if you don't have insurance, don't expect the same care as your neighbor that has insurance. So your point is what? Too bad if you cannot afford insurance. That is the unspoken and the sadest part of the arguement in this country on gov funded health care. The complete lack of compassion. The theory is: I can afford great insurance so I deserve the best treatment. If you can't afford it, that is just too bad. That is your problem! In-other-words; who cares! A lot of us see it differently. We believe that health care, all health care is a necessity, not a luxury. That is why we advocate for natl Health Care. I found myself needing a pacemaker at the age of 38. If I did not get health insurance at my job or I lost my job, I would have lost everything I owned! If I lost my job, I could not even get insurance. I was uninsurable once I had a PM. Oh yeah, I could probably get "High Risk Insurance" at a cost I could never afford. 

If we had national health care, that is when the government will get involved. Just like or similar to the government involvement in Medicare now. That is what I was referring to. Much like Medicare operates now, health care costs will be controlled. So, do you really believe that the gov. is involved too much in health care now. You see that as a problem? I'll bet you wouldn't feel that way if you were not on Medicare and/or you were uninsurable? Ya Think?

Medicare as single payer

by AgentX86 - 2023-01-28 00:48:20

No, Medicare is not single payer any more than Social Security is welfare.

Yes, I certainly do think that our government is too involved in health care.  It's responsible for three quarters of the costs.  Our government(s) can't do anything right.  No, I certainly don't want them even more involved in healthcare.

...and I certainy don't want them setting prices! That's always worked out well.


by Good Dog - 2023-01-28 07:57:37

You are certainly entitled to your opinion. First-off, Medicare sets prices for your medical costs and coverage and it certainly has worked out well! Are you complaining about what you have to pay on your Medicare and Medigap plans? You are correct in that Medicare is not a single payer. It is an 80% primary payer if you choose traditional Medicare and a Medigap plan. That is as close to natl health care as you can get unless it were a 100% payer. The other 20% is where the profit lies for the insurers. That is the bone the government throws them with the Medicare Advantage rip-off. Medicare Advantage as a primary payer "is" a rip-off. It can save you a few bucks if you rarely go to the doctor, but far too many people do not consider that they do not have a crystal ball. Instead of just the monthly cost, they really should consider the max out-of-pocket expenses in the event that something serious happens to their health. However, it is their choice  and it is good to have choices.

In case you haven't noticed, as a Medicare recipient when you get a $83K hospital bill as I just did, Medicare says "no way" we will only pay our agreed upon costs that are a fraction of that amount (approx $28K) and the balance (approx $2K) picked-up by my medigap plan. If I had no medicare or insurance I would be liable for the entire $83K. So who do you think negotiated the $83K down to $26K. If you said, the government you would be correct. Do you think that government involvement was bad for me? 

It sounds like you've bought into all the anti-government propaganda. Do you remember that "powerful group of people" that I mentioned in a previous post? Well, they gotcha! I suppose you think an autocracy might be a better option. You are right about Social Security not being welfare, but it "is" managed by the government. There are those that want to end government involvement in that too. Hopefully you are not one of those that wants to end that? Are you? That is not to say that the government bureaucracy isn't a problem, I worked for the Dept of Defense for 13 years. So I saw it first-hand. However, you seem to advocate throwing the baby out with the bath water instead of fixing it. A few less fighter planes and tanks and we'll still be the most powerful nation in the world, but we'd have a little more funding to help people. It would be nice to use some of our tax dollarss to help the average joe, wouldn't it? Your answer seems to be; hey, I have great insurance, I am taken care of, so everyone else is on their own. That is a great plan!

Gov. controls

by pogerm1 - 2023-02-01 01:01:49

Agent X86

I am with you, don't want gov. run health care like they have in Canada.  I have Medicare and BX, yes they cost, but all Ins. costs Auto, house...   

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