By George Dyck, M.D.
The Wichita Eagle, Letters, May 20, 2014
As we still hear about confusion surrounding the Affordable Care Act, I think about how different it is in Canada. I go there to work in the summer and see how much simpler things can be for the person who needs medical care. Residents of Canada can go to the Manitoba Health website and see the following:
“Medicare has become culturally and politically important to Canadians as a reflection of, and as a defining influence on, our national identity. Shared principles of equity, fairness and compassion are embodied in the health care system, and the services it provides are now regarded as a basic right.
“In order to receive medical attention, Canadians need only go to the physician or clinic of their choice and present the health insurance card issued to all eligible residents of a province or territory. There are no charges, deductibles or dollar limits for insured medical services (physician, hospital and surgical-dental), and there are no forms for patients to fill out.”
What is it that prevents Americans from embracing this kind of system? We hear voices saying we do not want to give up our freedoms. But what kind of freedom is this for those who cannot figure out how to get their medical care?
I do not hear people in Manitoba complaining about lost freedom. They shake their heads in disbelief about how complicated it is south of the border. And statistics show they have better health and greater longevity, as well as better overall satisfaction with their health care.
Dr. George Dyck resides in North Newton, Kan.