I was skimming through various websites tonight when I came across an article on Slate, detailing how expensive a woman’s third pregnancy had been. (She and her husband had each changed jobs and therefore health care coverage since the previous births.) That article linked to an article in today’s New York Times that I will be looking at more fully.
But the Slate article, and some of the comments, got me thinking of how much better the health care system in Ontario is than exists south of the border. And since it’s been almost 25 years since my youngest child was born in an Ontario hospital, I won’t opine on what the current situation is there.
I do, however, have personal knowledge, from just last year, on the state of emergency medicine in Ontario. I won’t go into all the details here, but on March 25th last year, I was taken to the E.R. after apparently collapsing on the street. (I believe I was mugged.) When I was admitted my temperature was 105F (what I had assumed was the flu turned out to be Legionnaire’s disease), and I spent two days in the E.R., followed by 5 days in I.C.U. (surgical I.C.U., at that, due to capacity issues), and then in a ward until April 12th, when I was transferred to a rehab facility. I was released from the rehab on May 10th. (After the first weekend in rehab, I was home weekends.)
I declined a phone and a TV in my rooms, had access to a shared computer in the rehab, and had no out-of-pocket expenses, not even for the 7-lead IVs and various drugs in the early days. (There was a $45 fee for the original ambulance; I didn’t bother following up on how that didn’t constitute and emergency.)
In rehab, I had two or three appointments a day, with physical, speech and occupational therapists. The physical and occupational therapists offered (and I accepted) additional time, again at no expense.
Nor was I charged for the MRI in the hospital, which contributed one of the rare aspects of humour to the recovery, when the nurse explained to my wife that the MRI of my brain “showed nothing.” Maybe my reaction was part of assessing my condition.
Anyway, the U.S. has many wonderful attributes. Their beggar-thy-neighbour attitute to health care (only somewhat ameliorated by the Affordable Care Act) is not one of them.
It wasn’t intentional, but I am writing this on Canada’s 146th birthday. Oh, Canada, indeed.