MEDICAL PEEVES, OR THINGS I’VE HEARD THAT MAKE MY BLOOD BOIL

I was scanning the XM radio on the way to work a few days ago and heard a clip about a Canadian citizen who couldn’t get care quickly enough and came here for surgery. Now this isn’t news. And I’m not using this as a platform to denigrate their medical system. There are shrill cries on both sides of the debate, and from my reading on the subject, it’s more nuanced than we’re often led to believe. The Canadian system isn’t a “cure” for our system’s ills. It has different strengths and weakness, another case of “choose your poison.” There’s no question that it’s cheaper.

Now, back to what made my (carefully controlled) blood pressure rise: The commentator said the Canadian citizen came here for some complex surgery (I think it was brain-related) and paid $29,000, a tiny fraction of what a U.S. citizen pays with their insurance. I did an internet search and couldn’t find a specific reference to this, so if anyone out there recalls it and can confirm, it would be appreciated. The motivation on the part of the providers for the discount or the mechanism of how it was obtained wasn’t explained, or occurred outside of “viewing window.” If true, it underscores our sick third-party payer system.

In any case, the sound byte had its intended effect—it spiked my BP. The only question I have is, how do they know the exact time I’m listening? I was wearing my foil cap.

 

Next: Medical Peeves, Part 2

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