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Canadian Premier Will Have Heart Surgery in the US
Old 02-03-2010, 10:13 AM   #1
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Canadian Premier Will Have Heart Surgery in the US

Makes you go "hmmmm." N.L. Premier Williams set to have heart surgery in U.S.
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:59 AM   #2
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Before jumping to a conclusion about the symbolism of all this, my understanding is that if it is a necessary, complex procedure unavailable in Canada his Canadian health care plan will pay for it. Such procedures exist, and even for US citizens, it may rarely be advisable to seek super-subspecialized procedures in Europe or elsewhere.

The article was too vague for me to read between the lines.
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:09 AM   #3
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I agree with Rich. There could be a number of reasons why he's not having it done in Canada. It's a vast country with only a little more than 10% of the U.S. population, so it may not have all the super-specialty medical facilities that are found in the States. And when that is the case it might be more cost-effective for the Canadian plan to just pay for the procedure in the U.S. than to build a new facility in Canada which might be very expensive and underutilized.

Having said that, it is certainly true that those with the money and clout to do it can "jump the queue" for a procedure by doing it in the U.S. on a cash basis. But that's not necessarily what's going on here, even though it makes a good talking point for those against universal and/or nationalized health care.
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:24 AM   #4
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Regardless of the specifics.

It's a big thumbs down for a canadian style health system.

When was the last time we had a noted American in Canada for anything ?
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:31 AM   #5
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When was the last time we had a noted American in Canada for anything ?
When was the last time a Canadian was refused treatment because he was 'uninsured'?

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Old 02-03-2010, 12:44 PM   #6
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Not having the specific details either but there was a report on the radio this morning that the surgery he required was not available in Canada. Ontario Station
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:46 PM   #7
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Not having the specific details either but there was a report on the radio this morning that the surgery he required was not available in Canada.
..Why not?
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:48 PM   #8
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Perhaps if the US had the same health care system as Canada, the procedure would not be available in the US either?
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Old 02-03-2010, 01:08 PM   #9
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Perhaps if the US had the same health care system as Canada, the procedure would not be available in the US either?
Ding! Ding! Ding!

There are pros and cons to all situations and clearly there are many pros to the Canadian health care arrangement. But having the latest, state of the art procedures as readily available as in the USA may not be one of them. At least not in this case.

As we all form our opinions and communicate them to our political representatives as to what a new "reformed" USA health care system should look like, we may have to come to grips with the fact that we can't afford everything. Coverage for all citizens and reach-out development of procedures and drugs may not fit on the same plate. There may be some compromises which result in a "better" system but which rearrange the pros and the cons.

Unless there is a dramatic predicted difference in outcomes, the Premier should stay home and lead by example and avoid making a tacit statement like this.
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Old 02-03-2010, 01:19 PM   #10
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Not having the specific details either but there was a report on the radio this morning that the surgery he required was not available in Canada. Ontario Station
The article doesn't say what procedure he will undergo, although one of the linked articles mentions that surgery for a certain type of aortic aneurysm is not available in Canada.

"Dr. Feindel said he is aware of only a single non-experimental heart operation not available in Canada: one to repair a rare aneurysm in the part of the aorta descending through the chest."


Perhaps this is the treatment he requires.
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Old 02-03-2010, 01:24 PM   #11
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..Why not?
Why does virtually every large American corporation outsource when the necessary services are available cheaper and better elsewhere? Good business.

Maintaining obscenely expensive resources for rare use only? Not so much.

Iin this case, assuming the facts bare this out, kudos to the Canadian system if it covers him for services which are only available outside the country despite higher costs.
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Old 02-03-2010, 01:40 PM   #12
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Why does virtually every large American corporation outsource when the necessary services are available cheaper and better elsewhere? Good business.

Maintaining obscenely expensive resources for rare use only? Not so much.

Iin this case, assuming the facts bare this out, kudos to the Canadian system if it covers him for services which are only available outside the country despite higher costs.
If the USA changes its system and focuses more on coverage for all at the expense of having less development of cutting edge procedures and drugs, it will have an interesting impact on systems like Canada's.

I hope that if the Canadian system is footing the bill for the Premier, they pay full cost + profit and that providing him services doesn't reduce by a penny the resources available for everyday American citizens.
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Old 02-03-2010, 01:49 PM   #13
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Regardless of the specifics.

It's a big thumbs down for a canadian style health system.

When was the last time we had a noted American in Canada for anything ?
I have an American passport and the internet to query overseas rates vs my great American medical system.

Don't ask - I still can't hit those stupid(smart?) squirrels with my plastic BB's.

heh heh heh - plus knock on wood I don't have any 'specialized' conditions - to my knowledge. .

Ala the great tourist traps - it seems there a lot(and more coming) 'we can do the good stuff cheaper' places being touted around the world. Growth industry??
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Old 02-03-2010, 02:47 PM   #14
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Why does virtually every large American corporation outsource when the necessary services are available cheaper and better elsewhere? Good business.

Maintaining obscenely expensive resources for rare use only? Not so much.

In this case, assuming the facts bare this out, kudos to the Canadian system if it covers him for services which are only available outside the country despite higher costs.
So, are you advocating that we subsidize the rest of the world on the cost of research and developing these types of procedures? Or do we require them to make a catch-up contribution when they need services they have chosen are not cost-effective to develop? Canada is not a third-world country, albeit one with socialized medicine- which promulgates outcomes like this.

Outsourcing telephone support for computer printers to India because it is cheaper isn't the same as making the same decisions about the health and welfare of your citizenry, for whom you have agreed to ptovide cradle-to-grave socialized medicine.

If we do enact some sort of health care reform, would you advocate the Canadian approach for you and your family?- only cover routine procedures and be expected to go outside the country for specialized procedures? Makes sense, eh?- lung transplants are on sale next week in India! Brazil is having a 2:1 special on angioplasty, and the Walmart in Tijuana is offering free H1N1 flu shots with every purchase over $50... throw in free airfare, and it's all good.

I wonder what chance the average Canadian would have of getting the procedure the PM is getting... winning their lottery could be a more realistic option.

This speaks volumes about their health care system, annd couldn't come at a better time. That being said, I hope that the PM's procedure goes well.
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Old 02-03-2010, 03:09 PM   #15
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So, are you advocating that we subsidize the rest of the world on the cost of research and developing these types of procedures? Or do we require them to make a catch-up contribution when they need services they have chosen are not cost-effective to develop?
Are you mad at Canada for showing a hint of savvy by exporting tiny amounts of esoteric care when it makes sense to do so within their national health care system? Do you propose turning them away because we can't "subsidze" the world (they do pay full fare, AFAIK)?

And, yes, I would be content to have me and my family under the Canadian system.

I like the system here, too, because I am reasonably rich, employed, and healthy. For now.
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Old 02-03-2010, 03:46 PM   #16
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According to this article, the Premier could have had the surgery done somewhere else in Canada if it wasn't available in Nfld:

Williams could have had surgery in Canada, cardiac experts say - The Globe and Mail
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Old 02-03-2010, 07:04 PM   #17
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Let me see if I understand how this works:
- It is legal for this Canadian to come to the US and pay for this procedure.
- It is illegal for this Canadian to go elsewhere in Canada and pay for this procedure.

Questions:
- Would it be legal for a US citizen to travel to Canada and get this procedure?
- If a Canadian doctor wanted to treat the US citizen immediately, would that be allowed, or would all Canadians waiting for treatment under the national health insurance plan have to be treated first?
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Old 02-03-2010, 07:36 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
Why does virtually every large American corporation outsource when the necessary services are available cheaper and better elsewhere? Good business.
Maintaining obscenely expensive resources for rare use only? Not so much.
Iin this case, assuming the facts bare this out, kudos to the Canadian system if it covers him for services which are only available outside the country despite higher costs.
"Congratulations, Premier, we can't get this done for you here, but we outsourced an extraordinarily low bid from our southern cousins. While you're laying there on the table, think of all the money we're saving!"

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I hope that if the Canadian system is footing the bill for the Premier, they pay full cost + profit and that providing him services doesn't reduce by a penny the resources available for everyday American citizens.
I hope that this operation goes so well that all the media lose interest and wander off to other important subjects like the Super Bowl.

But if this operation doesn't go well, then who sues whom where for malpractice? Or did the Premier have to waive his litigation rights to cross the border?
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:29 PM   #19
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Are you mad at Canada for showing a hint of savvy by exporting tiny amounts of esoteric care when it makes sense to do so within their national health care system? Do you propose turning them away because we can't "subsidze" the world (they do pay full fare, AFAIK)?

And, yes, I would be content to have me and my family under the Canadian system.

I like the system here, too, because I am reasonably rich, employed, and healthy. For now.
No, I'm not mad at Canada for expecting other countries to research and develop advanced medical procedures, so they can keep their costs low by exporting problem patients. It's just another example of other countries expecting the US to pick up the tab for programs they can't provide themselves, whether it is beans, bullets, or advanced medicine.....in essence, de-facto foreign aid. (unless "full fare" include a full pro-rata assessment for the decades of research and development, clinical trials, liability insurance, clinical after-care, etc, etc. that went into perfecting this procedure?)

It just seems ironic that the Premier of the country whose socialist health care plan has been repeatedly shoved in our faces as a shining model of "what works" can't get the care he needs under their program. While expensive, at least our system encourages advances in medicine, rather than discouraging them because they are, well esoteric.

And Nords does bring up a valid point about liability...No good deed ever goes unpunished.
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:48 PM   #20
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Maybe he just wanted a real doctor?
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