Lucky to be Canadian?

October 4, 2006 at 10:50 pm Leave a comment

I read a lot of blogs and a lot of forum threads. Mostly to do with pregnancy and fertility, but lots of health issues are discussed, especially because I have my fair share. Most contributors to what I read online are American women. I can’t help but notice the massive differences in health care between the US and Canada. All of this HMO business, insurance companies dictating which doctors you can see and which drugs you can buy, co-pays, consults and procedures not being covered by extended health. I never fully realized how lucky I am to live in Canada until I started really utilizing the health care system myself. I mean, there are a lot of problems here, the Canadian health care system is definitely flawed, but I never have to worry about paying out of pocket for anything. Between myself and my husband, we have all prescriptions covered 100%, no deductions, no limits on providers or services. I don’t ever have to worry about seeing a specialist (of my choice), diagnostic procedures or hospital visits. I spent four weeks in the hospital before delivering my son and the room was $2,000 per day, not to mention the drugs, specialty doctor consults, surgery and testing I received. I didn’t have to worry about paying for any of this. I can’t imagine the stress that would have put on our family. I got four months of paid sick leave before delivery on top of an entire year of paid maternity leave once Luka was born – as well as my job was guarranteed once I was ready to return to work. These benefits are paid through the government (not the employer). Now we are going through fertility testing and I do not have to worry about paying for any of the drugs or procedures. However, I do know IVF costs are out of pocket to a point – but my friend just went through it in another province and it cost her $6,000 total for her IVF treatment, the rest was covered by extended benefits through her health insurance. We are all middle-income families with average health benefits, basic through the province and extended through our employers. And I am trying to wrap my head around how a mom can be expected to go back to work six weeks after having a baby. That just blows my mind. Quebec, one of our eastern provinces, has even established a two year paid maternity leave to encourage moms to have babies and stay at home with them. Granted we do pay a hell of a lot in taxes so we should be getting something for it. But the average middle-income family (or even low income) is not left out in the cold, everyone is taken care of. I’d love to hear what my American readers think about all of this. Does it ring as ridiculous to you as it does to me, or am I missing something here?

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