One Man's Opinion That I Share

Today an old friend emailed me the following health care opinion and asked if it was accurate. All I could answer was yes. This is what happens when unions get a hold of health care. It also means that left leaning pro union parties are obligated to support the public system despite it’s obvious cost overruns and wait times.

(p.s. I changed the names to protect the innocent.)

I saw on the news up here in Canada where Hillary Clinton introduced her new health care plan. Something similar to what we have in Canada. I also heard that Michael Moore was raving about the health care up here in Canada in his latest movie. As your friend and someone who lives with the Canada health care plan I thought I would give you some facts about this great medical plan that we have in Canada.

First of all

1) The health care plan in Canada is not free. We pay a premium every month of $96. for [Jane] and I to be covered. Sounds great eh. What they don’t tell you is how much we pay in taxes to keep the health care system afloat. I am personally in the 55% tax bracket. Yes 55% of my earnings go to taxes. A large portion of that and I am not sure of the exact amount goes directly to health care our #1 expense.

2) I would not classify what we have as health care plan, it is more like a health diagnosis system. You can get into to see a doctor quick enough so he can tell you “yes indeed you are sick or you need an operation” but now the challenge becomes getting treated or operated on. We have waiting lists out the ying yang some as much as 2 years down the road.

3) Rather than fix what is wrong with you the usual tactic in Canada is to prescribe drugs. Have a pain here is a drug to take- not what is causing the pain and why. No time for checking you out because it is more important to move as many patients thru as possible each hour for Government re-imbursement

4) Many Canadians do not have a family Doctor.

5) Don’t require emergency treatment as you may wait for hours in the emergency room waiting for treatment.

6) [Jane’s] dad cut his hand on a power saw a few weeks back and it required that his hand be put in a splint – to our surprise we had to pay $125. for a splint because it is not covered under health care plus we have to pay $60. for each visit for him to check it out each week.

7) Shirley’s cousin was diagnosed with a heart blockage. Put on a waiting list . Died before he could get treatment.

8) Government allots so many operations per year. When that is done no more operations, unless you go to your local newspaper and plead your case and embarrass the government then money suddenly appears.

9)The Government takes great pride in telling us how much more they are increasing the funding for health care but waiting lists never get shorter. Government just keeps throwing money at the problem but it never goes away. But they are good at finding new ways to tax us, but they don’t call it a tax anymore it is now a user fee.

10) A friend needs an operation for a blockage in her leg but because she is a smoker they will not do it. Despite paying into the health care system all these years. My friend is 65 years old. Now there is talk that maybe we should not treat fat and obese people either because they are a drain on the health care system. Let me see now, what we want in Canada is a health care system for healthy people only. That should reduce our health care costs.

11) Forget getting a second opinion, what you see is what you get.

12) I can spend what money I have left after taxes on booze, cigarettes, junk food and anything else that could kill me but I am not allowed by law to spend my money on getting an operation I need because that would be jumping the queue. I must wait my turn except if I am a hockey player or athlete [or the Minister for Health Promotion getting a Cancerous skin lesion removed] then I can get looked at right away. Go figger [sic]. Where else in the world can you spend money to kill yourself but not allowed to spend money to get healthy.

13) Oh did I mention that immigrants are covered automatically at tax payer expense having never contributed a dollar to the system and pay no premiums.

14) Oh yeh we now give free needles to drug users to try and keep them healthy. Wouldn’t want a sickly druggie breaking into your house and stealing your things. But people with diabetes who pay into the health care system have to pay for their needles because it is not covered but the health care system.

I send this out not looking for sympathy but as the election looms in the states you will be hearing more and more about universal health care down there and the advocates will be pointing to Canada. I just want to make sure that you hear the truth about health care up here and have some food for thought and informed questions to ask when broached with this subject.

Step wisely and don’t make the same mistakes we have.

I would like to add a bit more.

15) The loonie left in Canada will fight to keep you from having heart surgery, a PET scan or an MRI at a private clinic, but they will be the first to defend abortions that are only performed in private clinics.

16) (to expand on 14 above). We used to have needle exchange programs, but now they are Needle Distribution Programs (ironically acronymed NDP, the same as our left leaning political party). So the city of Ottawa pays someone $50,000 to pick up dirty needles. If we had maintained the needle exchange, at least the druggies would have been helping us keep our children safe from finding these things on the street.

17) God help the person who has no family to help them go through any major operation in the hospitals. The blame is not on the nurses who do an amazing job with what they are given to work with. But in this day and age, someone having an operation almost HAS to have family members around to help care for them and make sure they are getting what they need, when they need it because the logistics and planning in hospitals just does not allow for smooth timely operation. My mother had heart surgery last November and the ice chip machine on the Critical Care Unit floor at Sunnybrook hospital was broken so we would go to different floors to bring her ice chips.

Ontario residents need to send Premier Yellow Bellied McShifty a clear message this October 10th.

McShifty Playing A Shell Game With Healthcare and Gambling With Lives

If you have gone in for a blood test only to turn around after checking in to see 30 or 40 chairs all taken and a half dozen people standing…

If you know someone who has been waiting for 5 years for a hip or knee replacement while hobbling around on crutches or in a wheelchair at a reasonably young age only to get a new hip or knee after they have lost the physical strength to use it due to attrition…

If you are angry that your tax dollars are being spent on providing drug users with 500 million free needles while diabetics have to pay for each and every insulin injection…

Then it’s time to get a new government in Ontario.

Watch this.

When I listened to the woman in the above video, it made me angry to be a resident in one of the richest parts of the free world. How a 35 yr old can be shuffled through our health care system for four years to the point where she is now suffering from stage 4 cancer.

I asked a very close confidant in the medical equipment industry about the ratio of PET scans in Quebec compared to Ontario and for any info she had on PET scans. Her CT product manager gave her the following background:

Positron Emission Tomography – PET Scan

A radioactive substance is injected into the body with “tracer”. There are different types of “tracers” depending on which part of the body you want to scan.

The person having the scan goes through two types of scans. The first is a Gamma Camera – Nuclear medicine. Then they go through a Computed Tomography (CT) Scan, (sometimes known as a CAT-scan).

The image from the nuclear scan and the image from the CT scan are then put together and you get a very good image of what’s happening in the body at the point where the tracer injection is.

PET Scans are especially well known for Cancer because of the image quality. Sometimes a CT scan alone won’t find a problem if it’s cancer in the earliest stages.

He also said that PETS aren’t readily available yet anywhere. He said he thinks there’s one at Sick Kids in Toronto, but isn’t sure where there are others.

Another contact said that the difference in numbers between Quebec and Ontario are very accurate. Apparently, though, the Quebec government found that too many PET scans were being done indiscriminately and they don’t fund the purchase of PET scanners to hospitals. What’s happening is that Radiologists are getting the money together and opening clinics NEXT to the hospitals and doing the PET scans at their clinics. PET scans are not covered by RAMQ (Quebec’s version of OHIP).

Getting a PET scan in Quebec costs about $2500.

So, the answer is yes, they are doing the scans in Quebec, but people are paying for the scan themselves.

So let’s do some math.

Dalton McShifty and the Liberals Health Premium – $800 per year
Average age of marriage to retirement – 30 to 65 or 35 years
Total Health Care Premium paid by an average family – $28,000
Cost of a PET scan – $2500
Number of PET Scans the average family could pay for on their own – 11.2

Now let’s look at some other numbers

Amount of money the Ontario cricket club asked for – $150,000
Amount of money the Ontario Liberals gave them without any authorization – $1,000,000
Overfunding? – $850,000
The number of health care premiums the overfunding would have paid for – 1062

Thats 1062 families worth of health care premiums Dalton McShifty just tossed out the window after telling you he needed it to pay for health care.

How many more lies are we going to give him the chance to tell? How much more hard earned tax dollars are we going to let him squander?

CBC Has Dirty, Filthy, Nicotine-Stained Secret

This morning on the radio, I heard a short clip about a dirty little secret the CBC has. Or more accurately, two dirty little secrets.

There are apparently video and/or photos taken with a hidden camera of two smoking lounges located in the CBC’s Toronto facilities. Smoking lounges with nice, comfy sofas and ashtrays packed with cigarette butts.

It’s nice to know that private corporations in Ontario are legally mandated to be smoke free but the precious CBC can have not one, but TWO smoking rooms.

I have yet to see this in print, but as soon as I do, I will add to this blog post. You can read about this in the National Post.

Stay tuned.

(Note: I am not against smoking, as I, myself, smoked for over 18 years. I just think what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Keep your eyes open for a public announcement that these smoking rooms have been officially closed.)

As A Health Issue, Crack Pipe Kits Should Be Paid For By Province, Not City.

In the past, I have commented on the fact that Ottawa’s Crack Pipe Kit program is a health issue, and as such, should not be paid for my municipal city taxes and that if it is to continue, the provincial government.

In this mornings Ottawa Sun, Nicholas Little of the Aids Committee of Ottawa (ACO) confirms:

“Larry O’Brien, I imagine, sees this as a legality issue, when, in actual fact, it should be treated as a health issue,” said ACO’s Nicholas Little.

“Addiction is a question of health, not of criminality.”

Mr. Nicholas is an advocate for the program but his words still ring true. This IS a health issue. But I disagree with him that it is not an issue of criminality. It is most certainly an issue of criminality. Crack cocaine is illegal. That is, in actuality, the only cut and dry part of all this.

It may not be a huge expense, but if it is to be made, it is up to Dalton McShifty to pay it with the health premium he burdened Ontario residents with shortly after becoming the Premier.

Crack Pipe Kits NOT Municipal Jurisdiction

As Ottawa city council works through ways through the budget for 2007, the issue of spending money on free “crack pipe kits” has come up again. And, as expected, the Ottawa medical officer of health, David Salisbury, is defending the program.

However, the police chief is standing by his statements too.

Police Chief Vince Bevan has said that he opposes the program because it promotes illegal drug use.

“The chief’s position is clear on this,” said spokeswoman Isabelle Lemieux.

Am I wrong in assuming that a program designed to minimize the spread of HIV and Hep C should be left to the provincial government? I always thought health care was provincial jurisdiction.

In fact, last fall during the election run, I called in to a radio show hosting the candidates for Cumberland ward (not my ward) and asked how the candidates would vote if the idea of safe injection clinics was brought up. Rob Jellett, the incumbent, was the only one who stated clearly that this fell under provincial jurisdiction. Since safe injection clinics give free needles and are there to help prevent the spread of diseases, one would conclude the free crack pipe kit program is in the same boat.

I think we need more of city council to read Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species.


From CFRA:

Ottawa Police are responding to the scolding they received from the city’s Medical Officer of Health.

A frustrated Dr. David Salisbury says the police service has done everything in its power to interfere with the needle exchange and crack pipe programs by confiscating the kits. However, Ottawa Police Superintendent Gilles Larochelle isn’t offering any apologies.

He says in a criminal investigation, police will seize drug paraphenalia(sic) no matter where it came from. He adds they sometimes take away the pipes for “safety reasons”.

Ontario Liberals Redefine Hypocrisy In Opening Of Smoking Lounges

The Ontario Liberal government has decided that government owned casinos are no longer considered public places because the Niagara Falls Casino and the Windsor Casino will be opening smoking zones.

Today, Ontario Health Minister Jim Watson defended the announcement by saying that the ban on restaurants and bars is different because they serve food but that the primary reason for a casino is not to serve food.

This plan comes on the heels of the drop in business at the Windsor casino after the Detroit casino opened up a smoking area.

In related news, Legion’s are still smoke free zones which means the Provincial Liberals, headed by Dalton McShifty, are giving more rights to gamblers than to veterans who fought to create a free Canada.

I guess the dollar is almighty to the Ontario Liberal government and public businesses just don’t get a level playing field.

OfficiallyScrewed … again.

Obesity Doesn't Care If You Can Play Mozart

From this article:

An online petition to the Government of Canada, signed by more than 35,000 people, says the credit is unfair and places a higher value on fitness than on music or visual and dramatic arts.

The Canadian Conference of the Arts urged the government to include a variety of arts activities, including music, theatre and visual arts, in the tax credit.

I don’t think these art critics get the intent of the tax credit, but this raises quite an interesting conundrum.

The arts tend to be championed by the left. Tax cuts tend to be championed by the right.


H/T to Clear Conservative Thought

Ask For Bacon, Or You Only Get A Cheeseburger

My wife teases me a lot with the phrase “You think you can change anything with a bit of money.” because if I can’t find something specifically the way I like it, I wonder how much money it would take to customize to my needs.

I know this makes me sound like some overpaid ass, but in reality, it comes from the fact that I work in the fast paced high tech industry and if a customer comes to me asking for something out of the ordinary, I never say no unless it is completely impossible. The conversation usually ends up with an explanation of the time and effort involved to make it happen and the opportunity cost is assessed and a surcharge is brought in, because my industry understands customization.

It was this same philosophy that created the “Add Bacon 50 cents” option on cash registers. It was people like me who grew up with banquet burgers asking Wendy’s and McDonalds for bacon on our cheeseburgers and offering to pay more for it that revolutionized restaurant cash register operation and, more importantly, gave us more options as consumers.

Life truly is better.

Where am I going with this? Well Yahoo news has an article about how a BC clinic is charging customers $30 for appointments and the NDP (go figure) is bitching about how this is a violation of the Canada Health Act and that the clinic needs to be stopped.

I thought this was the usual private clinic argument until I read this:

“Without the benefits offered under the plan, beginning March 1, 2007, there will be a $30 reservation fee in order to schedule an appointment to see one of the doctors at a specific time,” the letter states.

Drop-in patients or patients without scheduled appointments will not be charged the appointment fee.

*emphasis mine

So the patients are not being charged if they are willing to accept regularly scheduled appointments or drop in and wait for a gap in the doctor’s time. The ONLY people getting charged are those who ask for a specific time. i.e. that person out there with a busy schedule because they are being productive to society and not willing to stop being productive without a bit of guarantee that when they arrive they will be seen right away so they can go back to being productive to society. Hell, I bet if I had this service my boss would be glad to pay it to get me back on the job quickly and efficiently.

The kicker is that the patient is NOT paying for healthcare at all. The price for the treatment is the same if you wait or if you take the appointment they give you or if they charge you to be flexible to your time requirement. The patient is paying for expediency. They are paying for time saved. They are paying for a customized treatment “time”.

i.e. They are paying for a bacon cheeseburger.

Wait Times Indirectly Longer Due To Provincial Government Waste

Let’s put two and two together.

The Auditor General for Ontario just released a scathing report which goes so far as to say they have no idea what the level of waste is when they have millions in expenses without receipts and millions more listed as miscellaneous expenses. This outrageous spending was nickelling and diming Ontario Taxpayers to the poorhouse by buying things like 40 leather jackets for one provincial power entity and one teacher who sent flowers to her own wedding.

We should already all be aware of the overspending by MHA’s from Newfoundland which has been turned over to the Department of Justice. Some of the money, apparently, went towards gold rings that many people claim they never got. I am sorry but even if they did get the gold rings, why the heck are taxpayers paying for jewellery?

Another report in the news indicates that for the tenth year in a row the money spent on health care in Canada went up but that we STILL only spend half the money per capita that the United States spends

Let’s do the math. The Americans are taxed at a lower tax rate than Canadians. The Americans have the money to spend on an awesome military. The Americans spend twice what we do per capita on healthcare yet we are supposed to have one of the best healthcare systems in the world. I emphasize the word supposed.

Considering my mom was in intensive care for five days last week after a triple bypass, I can assure you, our healthcare system needs help.

I am grateful and thankful for the high quality education and skills our doctors and nurses are equipped with, but when an intensive care unit (ICU) has a broken ice chip machine for five days something is wrong with the system.

When a patient is left in an expensive (one to one nurse to patient ratio) ICU for two days longer than needed because there are no beds or rooms available in the cardiac care ward then something is wrong with the system. The nurses themselves told us that there were at least 5 people and as many as 7 who were ready to go to regular care but there weren’t any open beds.

Wait times can easily be cut shorter by putting more beds into the picture because the bottom line is this. If the ICU is packed with people waiting for beds, then the surgeries are not happening because there is no ICU space to put post-op patients. Hence, wait times are directly affected.

For those who care, mom is doing great and recovering nicely.