Taking Notice

Just a few things I have made note of over the past few weeks ( I might add to this as I think of more that I forgot to include - I need a notebook to jot my ideas down in lol)....

First off, being a member of several health forums now for 'trigeminal neuralgia', I have run into several Canadians who keep mentioning that they are glad that we dont have a 'US-style' health care system (because of the cost).... but then as I read back through their own posts, I run into constant mentions of how the waiting list to see some neurologists in their areas are 12-18 months. This was in very urban areas, not rural. So they are glad they don't have to 'pay much' (see my note following this sentence), but they are okay with having to wait over a year for an appt to see a specialist? And that's just for a first consult - who knows how long it takes after that for followup appts. Ummmmmmm and they don't think they have to pay much??? They pay every single DAY of their lives through various taxes on just about everything. Higher taxes than the US has - so ummmmm yeah folks, you ARE paying a fair amount (and in one province in particular this was happening in - BC- they also have sales tax harmonized with GST, AND they pay a monthly premium to boot). So they ARE paying a lot AND they have a crappy waiting list to twiddle their thumbs to. That's just lovely. GREAT system. Blah! I can barely stand it! Another thing that surprised me is a woman living on 'the island' (Vancouver Island) who had a problem finding a specialist and when she did, it was a 1.5 to 2 year wait , and if she has to travel to Vancouver, the waiting list there was 12 to 18 months.... there are almost a million people living on 'the island' but not enough access to specialists?? Why not? Oh I know - because the provincial govt has not deemed it necessary. Well guess what, if we had a more US-style system, a neurologist might travel to the beautiful city of Victoria, or maybe Nanaimo, fall in love with it, and decide to set up shop there. Wouldnt that be lovely? He/she could take on patients that have been struggling with flight and ferry costs for appts (saving hundreds of dollars for many people per visit that they could instead put toward their direct health care costs through fee payment or private insurance), and do a world of good at the same time. But - that is not really allowed to happen here. The 'red tape' for opening up a private medical clinic is very tough to go through, from what I have read and heard over the years, so many do not bother. So - the citizens have to travel or not get treatment at all if they cannot afford all those ferry crossings or flights. Another thing many try to do is attend Pain Management Clinics in the meantime but there is a backlog there as well and when they finally get in, many find a replacement backup doc instead who cannot really do anything and is not familiar with the files. What a giant waste of time AND money. Another interesting thing to note - one patient tried to get an appt at the University of British Columbia Neurosurgery Dept but they no longer do facial nerve surgery - so where do you go?

Meanwhile, on the American members threads, I see no-end of lists of doctors and surgeons and specialists. Yes the population is 10 times higher than Canada, however it's not all about that. I have posted before that my friend lives in a city in South Carolina now and out of curiousity I looked up the number of allergy specialists there and there were 14 within an hour driving distance, but most right in the city. Her city is SMALLER than mine, smaller population and close to a few major urban centers, but they still had 14 allergy specialists in the yellow pages.... guess how many my city in Alberta has? NONE. We have to travel to Calgary..... but my city is larger than my friend's and they have 14 and we have 0. What's up with that? Is the US style system REALLY that awful? How is our's better? I'm not glad about having to wait several months or a year or longer for important appts and treatments. I would rather have the option to pay without having to travel half way across the country or down into the US. But I cannot do that. Even though I
pay for this system every day in several ways, I am not allowed 'choice' and have to endure waiting lists a mile long.
Enough about that, it's like beating a dead horse.

Another thing I made note of was from Monday night's David Letterman show. My brother is in NYC right now and happened to win tickets to that taping, so I watched Letterman for the first time in probably 15 or more years lol. During the opening monologue, DL made light of the news that the US has 'hit the debt ceiling'... and then he proceeded to say that he has no idea what that even means. People laughed..... oh how hilarious! Let's just joke about the dire circumstanes the US is facing.

I tried to think of an analogy to help poor mr DL and immediately I came up with this: You are in a house when water suddenly rushes in and fills it up until you are floating and your head hits the ceiling. You are gasping for air in the shrinking space while water continues to flow in - but it is no use, you are now drowning. But suddenly - someone comes along and raises your ceiling! Cranks it up another foot and you are floating again,breathing in the sweet air ---- however the water is STILL flowing and it fills up to the ceiling again. You are drowning again.... and yet somehow someone still magically comes along and raises the ceiling for you and you float and breathe yet again.... Does that sound like it's going to ever solve anything? Are you going to get out of there alive because someone keeps raising the ceiling for you? Not if the water keeps coming and coming. You are going to be dead eventually. You;ve only been given a temporary teaser of air that will not last. The only thing that will save you is cutting off the water flow. Someone has to figure out how to stop it before you can be sure to have a chance...

Now back to the debt ceiling - if the US is oozing money, bleeding money, or completely out of money - is raising the debt ceiling (again) going to actually save anyone? If the problems that caused this in the first place are not addressed, it's just going to keep happening!