Monday, July 23, 2007

Michael Moore's and Canada's Sicko.

Just got to watch it on Saturday. And it was definitely an emotional rollercoaster. Not because of the physical pain that Americans are put through. I was in emotional distress watching the added emotional distress of the American citizens on top of the physical distress they are in while claiming Health coverage from Private companies.

This movie was by far in my opinion Michael Moore's most well researched. And well I kind of floated between feelings of, "I am so lucky that I live in Canada" and "Oh my gosh, I want to move to France, even Britain might do too!".

Its amazing how some progressive countries think of preventative medicine or therapy as an investment as opposed to "spoiling its citizens".

Okay, lets even forget about Britain and France for a second and think about the "evil" Castro's Cuba for a little bit. If they can do medicare and pharmacare, why cant we!?

And I say "we" because Canadians are quietly watching our provincial healthcare systems being stripped of things that we used to take for granted: for example Eye Care Packages. Ontarians without any prescription coverage through their employers are forced to choose between expensive more effective medications and their cheaper less effective counterparts. We are watching Gander's residents lining up from the crack of dawn just to sign up for a newly arrived bright eyed doctor who is capping his patient intake at 800, in a place where thousands are doing without one. We are sitting on our couches and witnessing the demise of what we used to be the most proud of, our Healthcare system, and yet we, the citizens of the free world are doing nothing, absolutely NOTHING!

Now for some fun statistics. Here are the numbers of the following health professionals per 1000 of canadian population (2003 statistics, WHO):
Physicians: 2.14
Nurses : 9.95
Dentists: 0.59
Pharmacists : 0.67

The above is why it takes more than just a few phone calls to find a new doctor, why it takes an average of 14.3 weeks to see a referred specialist in Ontario (its still the shortest wait time in Canada!) (2004, Fraser Institute) , and why 1 Patient in the ER waiting to see a doctor means 4 patients denied access to the Emergency department (2005, ON).

Ever wonder why it takes several hours before you are taken care of when you go to the Emergency Room? Heres Why:
Number of Hospital beds (per 10 000 population): 36.0 (2003, WHO)

Ever wonder why when you face an unforeseen health crisis you start cramming numbers as opposed thinking of a viable solution out? Heres why:
Out-of-pocket expenditure as percentage of private expenditure on health: 49.40 (2004, WHO)

Ever wonder why the governments are not doing anything to prevent us from becoming the true younger brother in the North? Ever wonder why the Federal government does not increase the Federal Health Transfers? Ever wonder why in the land where the father of Healthcare, Tommy Douglas was voted to be the greatest Canadian, we truly do not have a UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE SYSTEM?

Lets think about that for a second.


  1. I agree that the healthcare system in Canada has been declining for many years across eastern Canada but in addition to the fact that gov't is doing nothing in terms of funding to help the crisis, what incentive is there for Canadian doctors to stay in a public health care system like Canada? when they cud be making 5 times the amount of money by crossing the border with little to no extra training? This comes back to the issue of the brain drain that there is no incentive for Canadians to stay in Canada except for being true to the nation. I think if Canada finds a way to keep its people within its borders, that in itself will go a long way in ensuring that the system succeeds.. and i personally do believe that the strong dollar these days is going a long way in helping that cause. Take me for example, i'm doing a co-op term in the US right now, and i, more than anyone, have experienced the troubles of the american health care system with having to lash out thousands of dollars for my mom's healthcare here. But what drove me here. It's that there are not enough opportunities for me to grow my career in Canada. there are a handful of tech companies in Canada in the field i want to work in. I'd gladly stay there, had i the opportunity but there's no incentive. Also, i felt that even tho i've had to lash out thousands of dollars, i still made more money here to offset that expense.. Surely, now that the canadian dollar is stronger, i can see myself living in Canada coz for one companies are moving there creating opportunities.. (The likes of google, IBM and Microsoft) and 2) i'm not making any more money here in the US than i would have in Canada. Economic success has gone a long way in keeping a regular joe like me in Canada.. so i believe that if Canada creates the same incentives for Doctors and Health Care Professionals in Canada to stop them from leaving the country, i think it can save the declining healthcare system.

  2. Hello Rago,

    I agree with the incentive issue. If you saw Sicko, Moore interviewed a Doctor in London who derailed all the popularised ideas about publicly funded healthcare. This doctor told the camera that he is given incentive to make his patients quit smoking, to give them proper referrals to specialists. This is a huge issue in Canada where doctors take more than the necessary amoutnof time trying to figure out what is wrong with the patient, when they can easily refer the patient to an appropriate specialist in the field. Sad really.

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