The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #122219   Message #2680201
Posted By: Charmion
14-Jul-09 - 03:20 PM
Thread Name: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
Another contribution from Canada, province of Ontario:

The Ontario Health Insurance Plan was introduced in 1965. I was eleven years old, and I remember that year as the time when our standard of living began a sharp upward trend. My mother had a chronic lung disease that had kept us poor; up to that point, we never ate anything that cost more than forty-nine cents a pound.

I have been a steroid-dependent asthmatic since my early 30s. In 1994, I suffered a retinal tear that required immediate surgery to ensure I would not go blind. Consequently, I have experience with both a potentially catastrophic injury and a chronic illness that requires constant management.

The eye problem was handled seamlessly and flawlessly by not one, but two world-class surgeons. One reason it went so well is that my city has a major teaching hospital that includes a world-class eye clinic. The other reason is that I recognized the grey shadow at the edge of my visual field as most likely the result of something wrong with my eye, so I went to my optometrist to find out what it was. I picked him because he has the equipment and experience to perform a basic retinal examination and, as a primary-care provider, he would see me without a referral. (Eye surgeons are not primary-care providers, and they don't see patients without referrals.) Sure enough, the optometrist knew an opthalmologist who saw me the next morning, and the first opthalmologist knew that my retinal tear was outside his area of expertise and sent me to the world-famous eye surgeon who fixed it within 12 hours. Total time from optometrist's office to eye surgeon's bench: 36 hours.

If we lived in the States, we would have needed a second mortgage on the house to pay the surgeon, but I walked away without so much as putting my hand in my pocket.

The asthma is a different matter. It is managed by me, with periodic consultation with my family doctor. In 20 years I have been assessed by a respirologist twice, once to establish that I do, indeed, have asthma, and once to establish that it is, indeed, getting worse as I get older. Thanks to 25 years of recurrent illness and the gentle, persistent nagging of my faithful family doc, I am extremely persnickety about: avoiding things that trigger attacks, taking all the medications as often as I should, and getting enough sleep, even when I would rather sing all night at the Getaway. I also go to see my family doctor whenever I catch a cold (as I do about twice a year, just like everyone else) because I know it takes only 24 to 48 hours to develop into bronchitis.

The asthma drugs cost me about Cdn$150 per month. Antibiotics run about $60 for each bout of bronchitis. I have never had any trouble getting into the doc's office; if he's jammed up, he will fit me in between people because he knows that I know exactly what's wrong with me. I get good results because (1) so far I am pretty good at figuring out what my problem most likely is, so I have not been subjected to the agony of protracted, expensive testing that doesn't produce diagnostic results, and (2) I follow the treatment plan religiously. It helps that my major problems are both common and treatable, and my family doc of 15 years is still on the job.