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'Access to health care is a civil right in Canada'

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Dear American neighbours,

My family's experience with Canadian health care has been excellent!  My mother had a brain aneurysm and she was rushed to a special hospital 100 kms away and a world-class surgeon operated and she is amazingly fine, 6 years later. 

My husband had a near-fatal motorcycle accident last year and this time a helicopter took him to a special hospital and after several operations and several weeks in a coma, he continues to recover just 1 year later! 

We were not charged for any of these hospital costs, everything was paid by "single payer" (the provincial or state government). I think the USA debate over health care is extraordinarily ridiculous! Do you have insurance companies to cover costs for your police, fire and garbage pickup also?

Access to health care is a civil right in Canada and I'm proud of it!

Sheri Birch


Dear American neighbours,

I will relate only one experience that I have had with Canada's healthcare system.

Ten-to-fifteen years ago I began appointments with my eye doctor. Since that initial visit he has booked me in to see him once a year. Four years ago he began seeing me more frequently because of macular degeneration forming in my right eye. He referred me to an eye doctor specializing in the degeneration. That doctor booked me in for an operation to remove a membrance growing over the retina of the right eye. The membrane was skillfully removed in a painless 20 minute operation. On my last visit to my regular eye doctor a week ago, he determined that a cataract was growing in my right eye and should be removed. The operation will take place next September, 2010.

In all of the above appointments I was in the hands of two very skilled doctors who competently did what was needed and who worked under the aegis of a single-payer system. More to the point, I paid not one penny for their expertise. Their work was all covered by our provinces health care system which is funded by the general revenue of the province and the federal government.

Some may think of our healthcare system as socialist. Well, I guess it is, but in another sense it is just common sense.

Barry V. Fisher

Calgary, AB


Dear American neighbours,

I have seen health care setups in several countries over many years, and I am grateful to be living under the Canadian system. It's a great invention. It looks after virtually everyone, and the service level is generally very good, sometimes excellent. It is not perfect, and some people complain, but overall it is very popular with the population. A politician does not dare speak against the basics of the system. I choose my own family doctor under a free market system and I can always get an appointment in a short time. There are also drop-in clinics. I pay for my drugs, but there is a graduated subsidy for low-income people, after they pay a certain amount each year. Doctors are well paid, but the cost of the whole system seems to be manageable.

There can be long waits for some surgery like knee-replacement, which is unfortunate. But when I had cancer, the standard service was swift and effective. For some services, you can pay extra for extra service. E.g., in a hospital, you can get a room to yourself instead of sharing a room, if you are carrying private insurance for it. But the basic service is always covered, and the quality of care is very good.

B.H. Nation


Dear American neighbours,

I am 58 years old. I do not know or know of, one person who has ever suffered from financial consequences due to illness. I do not know or know of, anyone who has felt they are not well served by our Canadian health care system. The misinformation that is currently being spread about our health care is laughable and absolutely ridiculous. Not as ridiculous as the foolishness that passes for debate in America.

Louise Garnock

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