Our me­di­cal sys­tem isn’t so­cia­list but it is pret­ty good


Trump —THE WAY I SEE IT re­cent­ly de­noun­ced Clin­ton for prai­sing Ca­na­da’s “so­cia­list” heal­th­care sys­tem.

In his tra­de­mark fear-mon­ge­ring style, Trump im­plied it would be ter­rible for the U.S. to have a si­mi­lar sys­tem be­cause any­thing that looks or smells like so­cia­lism is sca­ry bad.


If you’re a so­cia­list, you’re against ca­pi­ta­lism and ma­king and kee­ping a pro­fit for your own be­ne­fit.

So­cia­lists don’t be­lieve in pri­vate pro­per­ty, and so­cia­list go­vern­ments own and control the pro­duc­tion of goods and ser­vices, do­ling them out for the col­lec­tive good.

So does all that add up to Ca­na­da real­ly ha­ving a so­cia­list heal­th­care sys­tem?

The Ca­na­da Health Act does de­cree that all ci­ti­zens and per­ma­nent re­si­dents across the coun­try must get free, uni­ver­sal ac­cess to es­sen­tial doc­tor and hos­pi­tal ser­vices.

The sys­tem is pu­bli­cly fun­ded/qua­si single-payer, since the bill is foo­ted by pro­vinces and the fe­de­ral go­vern­ment, with each pro­vince and ter­ri­to­ry over­seeing its own sys­tem and set­ting its own rules.

But it’s al­so pri­va­te­ly fun­ded since it doesn’t co­ver pres­crip­tions, den­tal, eye care and some other costs, so the ma­jo­ri­ty of Ca­na­dians have pri­vate in­su­rance, too. Meanw­hile, me­di­cal ser­vices are pro­vi­ded by pri­vate doc­tors who don’t work for the go­vern­ment, but are self em­ployed. These in­de­pendent contrac­tor doc­tors hire and pay their own staff and can set up shop whe­re­ver they want.

Doc­tors then bill the go­vern­ment for the ser­vices they pro­vide, while pa­tients are free to choose whi­che­ver doc­tor they want. A Ca­na­dian can go to a dif­ferent doc­tor eve­ry day of the week if they want, and it won’t cost a cent (ask a Ca­na­dian what their co­pay is and they’ll give you a blank stare be­cause there are none.) So, if we’re going with the de­fi­ni­tion of a so­cia­list me­di­cal sys­tem - go­vern­ment hires and em­ployes doc­tors, tells them where and what they can prac­tice and tells pa­tients who they can see - Ca­na­da’s doesn’t fit the bill.


Du­ring the se­cond pre­si­den­tial de­bate Trump said the Ca­na­dian sys­tem was “slow” and “ca­tas­tro­phic,” clai­ming thou­sands of Ca­na­dians head south on a re­gu­lar ba­sis for bet­ter heal­th­care. Hmmm, that’s fun­ny, be­cause most people I know are ter­ri­fied of get­ting hurt or be­co­ming ill while in the States and ha­ving to pay in­sa­ne­ly in­fla­ted me­di­cal costs.

As an Ame­ri­can li­ving in Ca­na­da, I am ve­ry gra­te­ful for our me­di­cal sys­tem. I was able to take up to a year off, much with pay, af­ter ha­ving each of my three kids. My friends in the States of­ten got less than four weeks ma­ter­ni­ty leave, much of it un­paid.

Any time one of my kids had a bad cough, pul­led on their ear while run­ning a fe­ver, had a sus­pi­cious rash, or took a nas­ty fall playing sports, I didn’t think twice about hea­ding to our pe­dia­tri­cian. My kids had an­nual che­ckups and re­cei­ved all their vac­ci­na­tions. They had an­nual eye exams at no cost un­til they were 18. And when I had to have ACL re­cons­truc­tion sur­ge­ry ear­lier this year, I was first put through a bat­te­ry of quick and tho­rough pre-op tes­ting. The sur­ge­ry went ve­ry well and I re­cei­ved ex­cellent care. A week af­ter sur­ge­ry, I star­ted phy­sio­the­ra­py twice a week. There was a ques­tion about a fa­mi­ly his­to­ry of heart di­sease and I was boo­ked right away for a car­dio stress test (which re­vea­led good health and ex­cellent car­dio ca­pa­ci­ty, thank you ve­ry much.)

I am al­so for­tu­nate to have had the same com­pas­sio­nate, proac­tive, ex­tre­me­ly in­vol­ved fa­mi­ly doc­tor for the past 25 years.

And all at no cost.

Read that again.





Our sys­tem isn’t per­fect, but its cer­tain­ly not so­cia­list, and it’s a lot bet­ter than the care to which ma­ny of my fa­mi­ly and friends in the U.S. can’t af­ford ac­cess. KRISTINA EDSON

Ca­na­da’s heal­th­care sys­tem has ta­ken some hits du­ring the U.S. pre­si­den­tial race bet­ween Hilla­ry Clin­ton and Do­nald Trump.

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