Follow by Email

Friday, August 28, 2009


JC, Your letter to the Wash Post (8/23) is well done and very substantial. Where are you getting your stats?
Carmelita W. (Nurse)

Response to Carmelita:

The stats about Canada for that Washington Post letter came from a well-footnoted book about health care around the world. It's called Lives at Risk, by Goodman, Musgrave, et al. It's an eye-opener of a book! Goodman is an established health care expert who has been writing books on the subject since before it became a super-hot political topic. :) Here's a link if you'd like to buy a copy:

JC Leahy
Sigma Theta Tau's "100 Most Extraordinary Nurses" Award


Daniel said...

As a former Canadian who lived in that country for 20 years, I could state unequivocally that the Canadian health system has major problems. Funding is limited because of the many social programs that drain the coffers of the government. It is also subject to abuse since people can go to their doctors or go to the hospital whenever they want and they do not have to cough up any money. That said, it is a fact though that Canadians, in general, have a longer life expectancy and are in better health than the Americans. Canadians are also overwhelming in favour of their system which is one payor system, with very low overhead and is operated solely for the benefit of the tax-paying public. Also there is hardly any illegal aliens in Canada making managing the health system more effective. It is true that there is a waiting list for tests, but life threatening conditions are given priority as far as tests and treatment. However, no one has died in Canada because they did not get health care. The greater tragedy in our country is that thousands of people die each year because they did not get care because of the prohibitive cost for a lot of people. Drugs in Canada are much less expensive than in the United States.

Many Canadian doctors and nurses have moved to the United States because it is a greener pasture here. This has created a crisis of medical personnel in the Canadian health system

JC Leahy said...

Daniel, THANK YOU for your thoughtful post!!! I salute your involvement!!!! Yes, waiting times are a problem in Canada!! I do see a few factual problems in your assertions that: (1) Canadians, in general, have a longer life expectancy than Americans, (2) no one in Canada has died because they had to wait for health care, and (3) administrative costs are very low in Canada.

I'll write Journal articles to give more detail, but in brief (1) The Canadian lifespan is about the same as the US when you adjust for racial composition. In fact, one might wonder why it isn't longer in Canada when you consider the relative incidence of obesity. (2) Oh, yes! People die in Canada waiting for care!!!!!!!! I happen to be preparing a piece on this topic. More info soon!!!! (3) Administrative costs in Canada seem low because of differences in the DEFINITION of administrative costs, and the MEASUREMENT of administrative costs. For example, marketing is counted as an administrative costs in the US. But in Canada, a government system, the costs of lobbying for more health care funds and collecting health care taxes are NOT counted as administrative costs. When you adjust for measurement and definition differences, Canada & US health care administrative costs are not so different. And besides, your underlying assumption is that administrative costs are bad. If administrative costs were bad, then companies, school systems, and all sorts of organizations would simply ban spending on administration. In point of fact, good administration is what prevents organizational meltdown into chaos.