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curious about attitudes to medicare

Posts: 72
Joined: Jul 2012

being from a place where full cancer treatment is made available to all regardless of means, I was shocked to read some posts on this site where some elements of cancer treatment could not be 'afforded'. Is it fair to assume that all those posting on sites like this would be in favour of universal medical care? I'm curious about what motivates those that oppose it so fervently.

Posts: 17
Joined: Jul 2003

I live in Alberta Canada and I can tell you from personal experience that medicare Alberta style has serious issues. 24% of doctors have had a patient die on a waiting list. There is a serious shortage of doctors, nurses and specialists in my province. I have the best insurance available and even have a cadillac supplementary policy that covers absolutely everything but I cannot get access to medical care. Hospitals are full. Acute care beds are filled with old pwople waiting to get into long term care. There are waiting lists for every test and every procedure and each is subject to triage. People wait for days and sometimes die in emergency rooms because people cannot get appointments with gp's so they turn to emergency rooms. On weekends in cities the wait can literally be 3 days. I have a friend who was in a hospital for 3.5 weeks before getting an appointment with a oncologist for esophageal/liver cancer. During that time she developed a infection from a feeding tube nad is now too weak to survive chemo. She was scheduled to have an MRI on Jan 2013 but ended up in emergency. She will be dead by January (dr has given her 2-5 months to live). I had a xray on a lesion that my dr described as large and aggressive and in my femur on June 7th 2012. My bone scan was postponed and finally done in July. I have an MRI booked for Oct 1 that was set up on June 8th. My boyfriend waited 12 months for a triple bypass and was then sent home because it was postponed at the last minute. They were short of OR staff because they did a transplant the previous night. Two weeks later he finally got in. He had been rushed to emergency 3 times during that year. If you are short of drs, other health care professionals and hospitals it simply doesn't work. It hasn't worked here for a very long time. Private health care is illegal and you cannot go out of province if the treatment is offered in your province. Alberta medicare sounds great in theory but you really don't want to live it. Some provinces are better and some are worse. Every american should read this article http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/01/25/our-health-care-delusion/ It will be an eyeopener for many.

sandy1943's picture
Posts: 883
Joined: Jun 2010

Thanks for the message on health care in Cancda. Here in USA health care is one of major political agendas. It is becoming more and more expensive. I wish there was a majic answer. Most of the time my doctors and hospital has been available when needed.
Four months ago I was sent to a specialist. It took amonth to get the appointment. Then He ordered some test and had me come back in six weeks. At that time he ordered more test and set the appointment for six weeks out. I will see him next week. He has ordered more test with another specialist in two weeks.I don't know if I will be turned over to the new doctor or not.
This all started with neuropathy in my feet and legs, so it's not life threatning, but what I thought was a simple appointment keeps stretching out. If this was a serious illness I would be freaking out with all the waits. I have been finding out in the last few years, it is getting harder to get appointments without a wait.
I am praying for our politicians to come up with a plan to help america to get back to the affordable, best health system in the world.

Posts: 17
Joined: Jul 2003

I said all of this in the CSN chatroom in June when I first started my ordeal. I was told by an American that I was lying and a fraud and that I should be banned from the room. He told me had talked to Canadians and they loved the system. I should stop whinning. The healthcare system is run by each province here. Conditions vary greatly from province to province. Mine is the wealthiest province and has one of the worst healthcare problems. Some employers are offering American Healthcare insurance to entice workers to come here since we have a labour shortage. I would love to have American Insurance. I would have driven to Montana in June and had a diagnosis by now. It is September and I still don't have a diagnosis. I am also trying to convince myself that if my dr's initial evaluation of a "large aggressive lesion in the bone" is not right and that my 4 month wait will not affect my treatment options. I am also telling myself that my friend's 3.5 month wait while developing an infection and becoming too weak for chemo has not caused her impending death. I will always wonder if she had lived somewhere else would she have had a chance? Great insuracnce coverage is irrelevant if you cannot get service.

Posts: 17
Joined: Jul 2003

I am so sorry for your loss and your insurance problems. I have reported the perpetrator several times to CSN and the American Cancer Society. It indeed was not one of my better days. I had just been told that I may have an agressive bone cancer, I would have to wait 4 months for an MRI and now I was being bullied in a "support" room. I was pretty devastated. On Tuesday of this week I was in the same room with the same person minding my own business and my phone rang. My best friend called to tell me she had just returned from having a biospy for possible breast cancer and lymphatic node involvement. I was making arrangements to drive 5 hours this weekend to go with her when she gets her biopsy results (no one should ever have to do that alone). To my horror my screen was totally filled with a tirade of personal attacks, an malicious insults and again the perpetrator bemoaned the fact that I should be banned from the site for refusing to chat with him. I did not respond, but I will not be referring my friends to that chatroom as I do not feel it is a safe place for a vulnerable person who is frightened and looking for hope. I have an ignore button and I know how to use it and the rest is up to the owners and managers of the chatroom.

Posts: 17
Joined: Jul 2003

Indeed I did report it. The perpetrator was a moderator who recently resigned. They were featured in the American Cancer Society magazine this past winter and attended a conference in Atlanta last week to discuss how to "improve" CSN. The chatroom has become a ghost town. Those who haven't been banned when they were moderator left and created another chatroom elsewhere. Go figure! I simply use the ignore button, the rest is up to the management.

Posts: 10
Joined: Sep 2012

Sorry to hear about your personal experience with Alberta healthcare. I also live in Alberta and it was a totally different experience. My husband went to his doctor due to swallowing difficulties, 2 days later he had a barium swallow and a week later he had an endoscope and a CAT scan it was found he had stage 4 esophageal cancer with mets to the liver. He has had radiation and 3 courses of chemo. His CAT scan done after this treatment showed excellent response. He can now eat anything without any trouble and we took a road trip down to Las Vegas. He is having 3 more rounds of chemo and then another CAT scan, hoping for more excellent results. Once again sorry for your experience with Alberta healthcare.

Ginny_B's picture
Posts: 543
Joined: Sep 2011

My mom was on medicare and had the best of care and no delays. She also had supplemental care that she purchased. All I know is that we had no $ out of pocket. Everything was covered. My husband is on medicare and again, no out of pocket for him so far. He is due to have back surgery in November.

I don't have a problem with medicare at all. I have a few years to go before I convert to medicare and I will also purchase supplemental too.

It's the pharmaceutical companies that rake us! Ugh! I have to take a heart valve pill and was told there are generic versions. Well, the generic does not help. I have heart issues when I am on the generic. As a result I have to pay $100 for my pills! Used to pay $25 until "they" decided I should take the generic version. I wish "they" had my problem and try to fix it with a generic brand. I think "they" would sing a different tune. And just who IS "they"? A panel of people? What?

Posts: 17
Joined: Jul 2003

What if you had 100% drug coverage and wonderful insurance but you could not get an apointment to get a prescription or renew your prescriptions? I live in a town of 2400 and the wait to see a GP is 2-4 weeks. There's the rub.

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