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Healthcare elsewhere

October 04, 2009

Re "A healthcare battle of a different kind," Sept. 27

Regarding the article on non-emergency wait times in Canada: If you look hard enough, there are many such instances in our own "private" system.

I have private insurance and had to wait 13 months for minor outpatient surgery for tendinitis in my right wrist. I am right-handed, and had to go to work and perform normal duties in great pain and discomfort. I was referred to an orthopedic doctor who gave me two cortisone injections in four months, with no long-term benefit on either occasion. Finally, he referred me for surgery, which immediately solved the problem.

There is no perfect system. However, one that allows all people access to primary, lifesaving and emergency care, without questions or paperwork, is certainly more desirable than the "crapshoot" of our current system.

Rosalie Plitka

Alhambra

::

My wife and I have just come back from traveling in your beautiful country, where we were taken aback by the false ideas regarding our Canadian healthcare system. Yes, it is not perfect, but neither is any healthcare system in the free world.

Waiting lines exist here as well as in your hospitals. We pay no premiums, no deductibles -- and yes, our taxes are a little higher, but it is shared by all Canadians.

No Canadian will have to mortgage his or her home in order to receive lifesaving procedures or surgery. My first wife had cancer for 15 years, and she received first-class care at no charge to us.

We feel that a country as strong and vibrant as yours should be able to provide its citizens the healthcare they need without fear-mongering.

Paul and Marie

Sabourin

Ottawa

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No healthcare system is perfect. Many Americans delay treatment for financial reasons or fear of being labeled with preexisting conditions. Although Canadians may have longer wait times for non-emergency treatments, at least everyone does receive treatment and won't be bankrupted by the costs.

Janet Gegan

Culver City

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The example of a long wait for treatment points out the inherent problem in any plan that increases demand (adding millions of customers) without increasing supply (the number of doctors).

I think the health plans on the table will reduce the number of doctors by cutting their incomes or refusing to limit their liability to a malicious medical malpractice environment. That will reduce the quality of our healthcare.

John Piccininni

Newport Beach

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The U.S. should consider a hybrid public/private system, which is more similar to the European model than the Canadian model.

Austrians, for example, use both the public system and private insurance, depending on the situation. A friend there needed hip surgery. He said the public option was quite suitable, in terms of physician experience and care. However, he wanted a treatment program that was based at a health spa in the country. So he paid for it through his private insurer.

Sounds like a good example of choice and market-based decision-making.

Laura Curran

Newport Beach

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