Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lessons in single payer health care

---from Canada.

Shona Holmes, another Ontario court challenger, endured a similarly harrowing struggle. In March of 2005, Ms. Holmes began losing her vision and experienced headaches, anxiety attacks, extreme fatigue and weight gain. Despite an MRI scan showing a brain tumor, Ms. Holmes was told she would have to wait months to see a specialist. In June, her vision deteriorating rapidly, Ms. Holmes went to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, where she found that immediate surgery was required to prevent permanent vision loss and potentially death. Again, the government system in Ontario required more appointments and more tests along with more wait times. Ms. Holmes returned to the Mayo Clinic and paid for her surgery.

Almost 2 years ago a biased and politically motivated “systematic review” concluded:

…although Canadian outcomes were more often superior to US outcomes than the reverse, neither the United States nor Canada can claim hegemony in terms of quality of medical care and the resultant patient-important outcomes.

No matter what you think about population health outcomes in the U.S. and Canada, stories like the one cited above from the Wall Street Journal remind us that health care in Canada is not patient centered. If you advocate for single payer care in the U.S. don’t talk out of the other side of your mouth about timely patient centered care.

Via Secondhand Smoke.

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