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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

The Globe and Mail - Obamacare vs. Canada: Five key differences

Antonia Maioni wrote an informative piece the other day about the primary differences between Canada's health system, and the so-called Obamacare system which has just debuted in full in the United States (as well as triggering both a showdown from the Republicans and a shutdown of the government's non-priority services).

To summarize, here are the five big differences Maioni noted, in my own words:
  •  It's way more complicated - and now even more so. Canada may have two-tiers of health care, but in the US, there are more tiers than an Ed Mirvish high rise project.
  • It's not universal - In Canada, every legal resident is entitled to health care. In the US, not so much. Not everyone gets care under Obamacare: the only thing everyone gets is the right to be able to purchase some level of health care insurance. Woohoo.
  • It isn't a "national" program - In Canada, we can expect a common level of benefit, no matter what province is administering the health care plan. In the US, there is and will continue to be a wild state by state variation on the type and range of coverages available to citizens. 
  • It's not fair - health care in the US is still a "pay to play" system. If you can't afford good care - you simply aren't going to get it. While we've got to wait in Canada, in general, we are all waiting for a high standard of care.
  • It will not contain costs - Obamacare will do nothing in the long run to reign in the cost of health care in the US. As Maioni notes, "Governments in Canada know that health care is a searing financial responsibility, but they have at their disposal cost containment measures – monopoly fee negotiations with providers, global budgets for hospitals – that remain unfathomable in the American context."

1 comment:

  1. Hi, again, J...

    Very interesting, and again, not surprising.

    Back in May, my job, in order to avoid being forced to pay me (and other part-timer's) health insurance under the new law, cut my work hours down to 29 a week. Previously, my employer had allowed me to work full time for the last six months prior to this long as he was getting away with not giving me benefits...

    My story...I had gone part-time ten years ago for personal reasons, cutting just one day from my week. Under the work manual, I was still entitled to health insurance at 32 hours a week, but my employer forced me to sign something saying I didn't want it. I wound up eventually paying for my own health insurance for years-stopping after the monthly premiums exceeded $400 a month as of May. Then along came this law. I thought it was gonna be a good thing. Well, it is for some. Now those previously uninsurable (with pre-existing conditions) are entitled to health care, which is good. The not-so-good is having to work two jobs to make up for any cut in your hours because employers can't or won't give you insurance..and then being forced to buy insurance under the new law, or else be penalized. :( For personal reasons, I have yet to get another job to supplement my reduced wages, and now come January I will be paying $150 extra a month for some type of health coverage provided through Obamacare. Those on disability, from what a disabled friend told me, may benefit by having some of their medical expenses taken care of (as she did) as a result of this law. So low-income families, people on disability and those with pre-existing conditions seem to profit the most from this law. The rest of us are screwed. While the government will be giving me a credit that cuts my monthly premium down to the $150 (otherwise, I would be paying, at least, double that), they're not gonna help me find a decent supplemental or full-time job in this crap economy.

    Sorry this is so long-winded, J. *embarrassed*

    Anyway..I'd rather live where healthcare is a basic human right and not a business, even if I have to wait for treatment. ;)