Our system is not free. But when paid through a group as you know, in this case the group is ALL residents of Ontario, those who are healthy pay just the same as those who are not. Therefore lowering the individual cost.
And it would be interesting to compare tax rates in New York state to Ontario. Unfortunately right now we have had a Liberal Premier who was never going to raise taxes [sound familiar?] and immediately upon election said that "things were MUCH worse than we thought, so we have to raise taxes BUT ONLY ....] Does that sound familiar?
[She said that our health costs are 13% of our GDP.] Now as regard to 13%, where did that figure come from?
From this wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_Canada I see this:
"Canada's healthcare spending is expected to reach $171.9 billion, or $5,170 per person, in 2008. Health expenditures are expected to be 10.7% of the gross domestic product"
"Canada has a federally sponsored, publicly funded Medicare system, with most services provided by the private sector. Each province may opt out, though none currently do. "
Considerable attention[who?] has been focused on two issues: wait times and health human resources. There is also a debate about the appropriate 'public-private mix' for both financing and delivering services.
Regarding sleep apnea, I got into a specialist in a short period of time. I cannot remember how long but it did not seem inordinate. The equipment was 75% paid for. I paid $250 for my CPAP machine. However I noticed that in Amazon, I could have bought a cheap unit for that outright or pay a bit more and get a deluxe. I think this shows that there is some padding of the price so that the paramed companies can make a higher profit.
"Although life threatening cases are dealt with immediately, some services needed are non urgent and patients are seen at the next available appointment in their local chosen facility."
"Some, especially in the US, see waiting as a form of government rationing. Canadians, however, see it as a fairer form of allocation of available resources than the system in place before Medicare, when lack of buying power meant there were people who were effectively waiting indefinitely for access but could not get it due to insufficient insurance or other available funds. These people were never counted in any official way and their waiting time was never measured. The queuing system is seen as both fair and transparent."
"The Fraser Institute, a conservative think tank, claims to do its own research and found that treatment time from initial referral by a GP through consultation with a specialist to final treatment, across all specialties and all procedures (emergency, non-urgent, and elective), averaged 17.7 weeks in 2005. However, the Fraser Institute's report is greatly at odds with the Canadian government's own 2007 report and must therefore be treated wth great caution as it is a fierce critic of socialization of health care in Canada."
A 2002 study by Katz, Cardiff, et al, reported the number of Canadians using U.S. services to be "barely detectible relative to the use of care by Canadians at home" and that the results "do not support the widespread perception that Canadian residents seek care extensively in the United States." 
"The Canadian health care system is often compared to the US system. The US system spends the most in the world per capita, and was ranked 37th in the world by the World Health Organization in 2000, while Canada's health system was ranked 30th. The relativly low Canadian WHO ranking has been criticized by some for its choice of ranking criteria and statistical methods, and the WHO is currently revising its methodology and withholding new rankings until the issues are addressed."
Canada - average life expectancy is 80.4 and the U.S. is 77.8.
I certainly know that the stress associated with ability to pay for medical care, is totally eliminated as a Canadian because I know if I need it, it will be done and paid for.
So you are welcome anytime K. to talk to your husband and come to Canada for a few years as a diagnostic test of our system. Then you may feel qualified to write a book correcting the myths about Canadian health care. (:-)
By the way in reading that wiki I discovered that some provinces also include drug and dental as part of the care given.
Charles G. Pedley
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