Canada Health Care – Recent News. And some from here, too.

Except for 1 nod to The Wall Street Journal, please note that all sources are Canadian.

Canadians face 16-week wait for surgery: Report
Calgary Herald
October 29, 2009

Canadians looking to undergo surgery can expect to wait an average of 113 days in 2009, a slight improvement over last year, a national health-care survey has found.

The Fraser Institute’s annual report on hospital wait times found that the median wait-time for Canadians seeking surgical or other therapeutic treatment is 16.1 weeks in 2009, down from 2008’s 17.3 weeks.

…”In spite of large increases in health spending, Canadians are waiting 73 per cent longer for surgery than they did in 1993,” said Nadeem Esmail, author of the report and a director with the right-wing think-tank.

Province Wants to Sell Surgeries to Saskatchewan
October 29, 2009

People from Saskatchewan may soon be coming to British Columbia for surgery, if negotiations between the two provincial governments are successful.

B.C.’s health minister, Kevin Falcon, said selling surgeries will bring money into B.C.’s system and help British Columbians get care sooner. But New Democratic Party health critic, Adrian Dix, said the plan makes no sense when health authorities are already cancelling surgeries for British Columbians.

…The move comes while health authorities are cutting the number of surgeries they provide, said NDP critic Dix.

The Fraser Health Authority has said it will cut as many as 9,900 surgeries because of budget constraints and the Interior Health Authority has cut 428 orthopaedic surgeries before the end of the fiscal year, he said.

Across the province, there are 15,000 people waiting for orthopaedic surgery, Dix said. The figure is confirmed on the province’s waitlist website.

“They cancel 10,000 surgeries for us and they offer up those surgeries to people in Saskatchewan,” said Dix. “When you offer up spaces to people from other provinces, then those are spaces that could and should be taken by the people who paid for those hospitals, paid for those operating rooms, paid for that capacity, and that’s the people of British Columbia.”

Tommy Douglas: Not Dead Enough
October 29, 2009

There are 1,100 vaccination clinics open in Alberta today.

Manitoba opened to the general public yesterday. Pharmacists can give the vaccine.

And in Saskatchewan?

Nope. Allowing anyone even a sniff of vaccine outside of the Official Health Care System would be “two-tier” health care. So if you want a vaccination for H1N1, you have another two week wait before the vaccine is “released” to the general public. And in Saskatoon, they’re going to have everyone – which will include many who are incubating and infectious – congregate at a single site Prairieland Park) to receive it.

Declining Standards of Canadian Health Care
Canada Updates
October 25, 2009

Mountain-bike enthusiast Suzanne Aucoin had to fight more than her Stage IV colon cancer. Her doctor suggested Erbitux—a proven cancer drug that targets cancer cells exclusively, unlike conventional chemotherapies that more crudely kill all fast-growing cells in the body—and Aucoin went to a clinic to begin treatment.

But if Erbitux offered hope, Aucoin’s insurance didn’t: she received one inscrutable form letter after another, rejecting her claim for reimbursement. Yet another example of the callous hand of managed care, depriving someone of needed medical help, right? Guess again. Erbitux is standard treatment, covered by insurance companies—in the United States. Aucoin lives in Ontario, Canada.

Can there be the slightest doubt that government subsidy brings government control? If you are wavering on that question, you should read what the US government does with car companies, where, unlike health care, it said it does not want to be in the car business.

Politicians Butt In at Bailed-Out GM
The Wall Street Journal
October 30, 2009

Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg was no fan of the $58 billion federal rescue of General Motors Co., saying he worried taxpayer money would be wasted and the restructuring process would be vulnerable to “political pressure.” Now the lawmaker says it’s his “patriotic duty” to wade into GM’s affairs.

…Probably no company has been more on the receiving end of congressional attention than GM, whose widely scattered factories, suppliers and dealership network put it in touch with nearly every U.S. congressional district.

Ask yourself 2 questions.

  1. Given how the US government has maneuvered Medicare into bankruptcy, and given how the US government is currently handling the automobile manufacturing business: If you could, would you switch your health care services to Medicare just before $500 million dollars are cut from it?
  2. Will Congress accept exactly the same health care entitlements they want to force on us?

If you answered either of those questions “Yes,” you need medical attention immediately.

One indication of the level of nanny state control we’ve been paying our national legislators to develop for most of the year: The 1,990 page bill (H.R. 3962) will require nutritional labels on food dispensed from vending machines. Since you probably cannot see what’s printed, in 4 point type, on the package inside that vending machine:

In the case of an article of food sold from a vending machine that—

(I) does not permit a prospective purchaser to examine the Nutrition Facts Panel before purchasing the article or does not otherwise provide visible nutrition information at the point of purchase; and

(II) is operated by a person who is engaged in the business of owning or operating 20 or more vending machines, the vending machine operator shall provide a sign in close proximity to each article of food or the selection button that includes a clear and conspicuous statement disclosing the number of calories …

This is what Congress thinks of as health care reform. The number of calories for vending machine snacks have to be displayed, so before you select “Deep-fried Twinkies” or “Unsalted Chocolate-covered Bacon/Cheese Sausage/Reject Bits,” you’ll be able to compare caloric content.

Let me suggest that the only people interested in this information are people who would prefer to starve to death rather than eat from a vending machine. Well, they are also interested in what you eat from a vending machine, but isn’t that the whole point? All in all, though, this is small stuff. A half… no, a quarter-measure.

Consider that minor adaptations to vending machines would allow detecting your weight and height. Certain combinations of weight and height could be refused service for certain snacks. If you persist despite a recorded warning, you don’t get a snack and you don’t get a refund, that’s a “trying to game the system” fine.

A blood pressure cuff and blood sugar testing device could be installed in the snack delivery opening, and if you fail to meet a government determined ratio of these numbers you can’t pull your arm out until you drop the snack. You don’t get a refund, and the snack is donated to People for the Ethical Treatment of People for third world disposal. That’s a healthy living tax.

Finally, while we’re talking about whether your body is your property, can we at least recognize the threat posed to the pregnancy termination advocacy industry?

It was something that got into your body that caused that medical condition, wasn’t it? How it got in there can effect very different outcomes. To ensure choice at the earliest stages, and to avoid the necessity of FCC monitored wireless personal-implant electronic devices, the caloric content of a unit dose of semen alongside a warning of the risks of pregnancy must be tattooed on all male, um… biologic delivery systems.

We can probably persuade condom manufacturers to subsidize the tattooing. It’s a natural advertising opportunity for male enhancement.