Universal Health Care from a Northern Perspective

14 Jul

“Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson introduced the Medical Care Act in 1966 that allowed each province to establish a universal health care plan. In 1984, the Canada Health Act was passed prohibiting user fees and extra billing by doctors. In 1999 the Social Union Framework Agreement committed Canada to health care that has “comprehensiveness, universality, portability, public administration and accessibility.” excerpted and edited from Wikipedia

In my travels I meet people from the United States who want to know my thoughts on Obama care. I usually avoid discussing the plan, pleading ignorance. But if I had a chance I would explain healthcare in Canada, at least from my perspective.

I arrived in Canada in 1967. Lately some substantial health issues have helped me test the care and cost under present conditions.

In the last 15 years I’ve had  two full hip replacements using stainless steel and titanium prosthetics from Germany. I also had a hernia operation. The hip replacements were done in the Orthopedic and Arthritic Hospital in midtown Toronto. There are 10 orthopedic surgeons on staff and the techniques and quality of care are second to none. Toronto Western Hospital has a new ophthalmological wing where I had a macular hole closed in my left eye and cataracts removed with high frequency ultrasound. The costs of all  these procedures were covered by Canada’s universal health care system and Canadian tax payers.

To combat my high blood pressure, my long-time family physician worked out what he called a very potent cocktail of drugs. I have no idea what the weekly cost of this cocktail would be in the United States, but I guess it would be too much for me to handle as a senior citizen. I pay one small fee a  year to the Canadian government, something just over $100, and a very small pharmacy fee for prescription refills. My drugs are effective and individual provinces negotiate best prices with drug manufactures from around the world.

I am always bewitched and bothered by Americans who fight against government programs designed to make their lives  more comfortable. Those objecting most strenuously are often the conomically poor and middle class, who could be bankrupted by long term care. By coercion, corruption and fear, pharmaceutical and insurance companies in collusion with their political minions, have convinced Americans of Obama Care’s anti-Americanism, even attaching and popularizing its derogatory name.

When Barack Obama ran for president of the United States, he espoused a single-payer health plan. What the American people ultimately got was an almost incomprehensible tome thousands of pages thick. Perhaps something simple and useful will eventually filter through this bureaucratic silt. I hope so.

When universal health care began to take hold in Canada, its population was 19 million. Today it’s 38 million, about 3 million fewer than the state of California. These facts beg the question, with a U.S. population of 319 million, why the problems with health care?

Keep well and have a good day.





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2 responses to “Universal Health Care from a Northern Perspective

  1. Frank Morphy

    July 14, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Good for you. As you know, I, too, am a beneficiary of our fantastic medical care. I can’t imagine what might have happened without it!


    Date: Tue, 14 Jul 2015 18:01:38 +0000 To:

    • robinengelman

      July 21, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      Hi Frank – Thanks for writing. I know some things about your medical history. Everytime I hear politician’s and uninformed others discuss Universal health care,I am reminded of Pieter Brueghel the elder’s wondeful painting The Blind Leading the Blind (Der Blindensturz) ca. 1568. It is an image that immediately comes to mind when politicians and media talking heads begin to speak about, well, anything. Regards – Robin


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