Friday, November 27, 2009

Taking Advantage of US Health Care

The Guelph Mercury reports today that the number of Ontario residents heading to the US for medical treatment is growing exponentially. A new report documents:

A 450 per cent increase in OHIP approvals for out-of-country care since the beginning of this decade, a period of explosive growth in new technologies and therapies not covered or available here. The province agreed to fund 2,110 procedures or treatments in 2001, and 11,775 last year.

Patient demand has created a new breed of health-system navigators, known as medical brokers, who find U.S. options for the growing number of Ontario patients who elect to pay for medical services south of the border themselves.

Medical brokers negotiate discount rates with U.S. centres to get Ontarians faster diagnostics, second opinions and surgery. Brokers say that for every patient sent south by the Ontario government, there may be up to 10 others who go — and pay — on their own.

It's easy to say we don't have a dog in America's internal fight over health care, but clearly we do. Ontarians are flocking to American hospitals because wait times are shorter, and technology is better. Both of those advantages exist because the private American system ensures both innovation and adequate resources. If the Americans socialize their system, we may no longer enjoy the same access to the best health care providers in the world.


Swift said...

There is always the option of going to India.


It stills comes down to the rich have the money.
At lest the working poor can get care in Canada.
One other thing well I was working in California I was sent back to Canada for care by my U S provider because what I had to have done was not availabe in the U S.

Anonymous said...

Americans have better technology because they have a cutthroat market that favours the wealthy and exploits the poor. The American system has "adquate resources" that allow for short wait times because many people who need to go to the hospital cannot afford to.

I don't mind waiting in the ER for 8 hours with a lung infection if it means that the person who just had a heart attack can get looked after first.

Furthermore, healthcare shouldn't be about convenience. When it becomes about convenience, it denies the people who are in life threatening situations the immediate access they need.