Canadians Push for ‘Private Option’

A great report at today’s Los Angeles Times, “In Canada, a Move Toward a Private Healthcare Option“:

When the pain in Christina Woodkey’s legs became so severe that she could no long hike or cross-country ski, she went to her local health clinic. The Calgary, Canada, resident was told she’d need to see a hip specialist. Because the problem was not life-threatening, however, she’d have to wait about a year.

So wait she did.

In January, the hip doctor told her that a narrowing of the spine was compressing her nerves and causing the pain. She needed a back specialist. The appointment was set for Sept. 30. “When I was given that date, I asked when could I expect to have surgery,” said Woodkey, 72. “They said it would be a year and a half after I had seen this doctor.”

So this month, she drove across the border into Montana and got the $50,000 surgery done in two days.

“I don’t have insurance. We’re not allowed to have private health insurance in Canada,” Woodkey said. “It’s not going to be easy to come up with the money. But I’m happy to say the pain is almost all gone.”

Whereas U.S. healthcare is predominantly a private system paid for by private insurers, things in Canada tend toward the other end of the spectrum: A universal, government-funded health system is only beginning to flirt with private-sector medicine.

Hoping to capitalize on patients who might otherwise go to the U.S. for speedier care, a network of technically illegal private clinics and surgical centers has sprung up in British Columbia, echoing a trend in Quebec. In October, the courts will be asked to decide whether the budding system should be sanctioned.

More than 70 private health providers in British Columbia now schedule simple surgeries and tests such as MRIs with waits as short as a week or two, compared with the months it takes for a public surgical suite to become available for nonessential operations.

“What we have in Canada is access to a government, state-mandated wait list,” said Brian Day, a former Canadian Medical Assn. director who runs a private surgical center in Vancouver. “You cannot force a citizen in a free and democratic society to simply wait for healthcare, and outlaw their ability to extricate themselves from a wait list.”

Read the whole thing, here.

I’m surprised, frankly, that the Times’ editors even ran this piece. The paper’s been one of the country’s biggest journalist shills for ObamaCare. When I reported on the massive Adam Schiff town hall in August – which was the lead story on that night’s local ABC News broadcast – the Times competely ignored the story in the next day’s paper. Instead, we saw a tearjerker piece on the massive free healthcare clinic at the L.A. Forum. I’m putting the Los Angeles Times practically in the same category as its New York Times counterpart. See, “The New York Times ACORN Cover-Up; or, How the Right-Roots Brings Down the Old Grey Lady.” Once in a while, some fair-mined journalism gets through, like today’s piece on Canada above. Otherwise, it’s pretty frustrating reading the newspaper in the mornings.

Cross-posted from American Power.

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