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Canadian Wait Times



August 10, 2009 – Comments (15)

In Canada there is a company called Timely Medical Alternatives. They supply the service of delivering Canadians, who are dissapointed with the time they wait for medical treatment to a hospital in the USA.

In order to get their business off the ground they petitioned Gov't run healthcare to pass a law that requires Canadian single payer system to deliver every covered medical procedure within one year.

In Canada if you are put on a waitlist and the expected wait exceeds one year you can go to any hospital in the world and get that treatment and Canadian Single Payer will cover the cost.

Every Canadian who waits more than one year does so by choice. Not financial neccessity.

In 4 years TMA served less than twenty thousand customers, possibly less than ten. That is five thousand Canadians each year that were so unhappy with waiting that they actually did something about it at their Governments expense.

In America, we might not have coverage at the nearest hospital to our accident location if it is not "in network" because our system of paying for healthcare is better. With this method we could incure bills that could easily be double our health insurance payments. One solution is to pay more to our insurer than we already do, to be covered at any hospital without the unknown restrictions of our chosen plan. Of course this means increasing what we pay, which is already 50% more than Canadians pay.

Regardless of the checking we need to do to go to the nearest hospital lets see how many Canadians took advantage of TMA's service. At the larger amount of twenty thousand Canadians over 4 years, it comes to five thousand each year or .015% of their thirty million population each year.

In the USA our private insurance companies refuse coverage to .05% of their paying customers each year. The CEO of United Healthcare said so. If their customer base equaled the Canadian population of thirty million, that would be one million, five hundred thousand refusals annually.

So all by themselves, they refuse coverage to three hundred times more paying customers than there are Canadians desperate not to wait. And we pay more, which proves the way we pay for healthcare is better.

Will your private health inusrer cover you? Canda's public system will cover them. And their wait times are less than forever, and less than waiting for some charitable instution to come along.

There are wait times in the USA too. We wait six months without coverage when we get a new employer. We wait while we check with our private insurer to see if we are covered.

In Canada less than five thousand people waited so long they took advantage of TMA's service.

In the rural American town of Wise, West Virginia, five thousand got on a line after waiting a year for healthcare to come back to their town. And some had private insurance.

Remote Area Medical will be going to Inglewood Ca next, and then Utah, Tennessee and Kentucky, because our system of paying for healthcare is better than Canada's.

Perhaps you will be laid off in time for their visit to your town.


15 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 10, 2009 at 11:20 AM, leohaas (29.82) wrote:

What's the point of this post? First, it has nothing to do with investing. Second, nobody here in the US is proposing we move to a Canada-like system.

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#2) On August 10, 2009 at 11:34 AM, devoish (72.04) wrote:

UNH, Wellpoint, Cigna, etc, etc.

This is an investing website. Sometimes the best investment you can make is into a Gov't, not a Corporation.

HR676, supported by 92 representatives and 1 Senator are sombodies who are proposing we move to a "Canada like" system. You can learn more about the proposal here.

It is not HR3200, the 1200 page plan being watered down into an insurer giveaway and management nightmare.

Just because the HR676 is not being discussed by Fox, CNN or any major news outlet does not mean it is not real, or better for most Americans.

Hope that helps.

A healthcare proposal to mimic a plan that saves $2000/citizen in healthcare costs each year is a better investment for you than how much appreciation in how many shares of UNH?

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#3) On August 10, 2009 at 11:49 AM, ikkyu2 (97.97) wrote:

Where do you think TMA flies their patients to get the care that Canada can't deliver?
Here's a tip:  It ain't the Sudan. USA hospitals are the healthcare of last resort for citizens of a lot of countries, not just Americans. 

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#4) On August 10, 2009 at 11:49 AM, russiangambit (28.87) wrote:

> What's the point of this post? First, it has nothing to do with investing. Second, nobody here in the US is proposing we move to a Canada-like system.

I wonder why. It sounds better than the healthcare bill currently in Congress.

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#5) On August 10, 2009 at 12:14 PM, Melaschasm (71.43) wrote:

TMA is one of many companies that provide this type of service.

Even if you counted all the people all the companies helped, you would still be ignoring the many people who travel for healthcare without paying a company that specializes in this field.

Your claims about Canadians traveling for healthcare need to consider all of the above data, as well as the number of people who have to wait 11 months, rather than 1 week, to provide accurate and useful information.

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#6) On August 10, 2009 at 12:29 PM, chk999 (99.96) wrote:

devoish - you appear to be in "Canadian style is the answer, what was the question?" mode.

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#7) On August 10, 2009 at 12:51 PM, starbucks4ever (86.98) wrote:

"Second, nobody here in the US is proposing we move to a Canada-like system."

I propose just that. It is undeniable that the Canadian system is cheaper and better. Some call it socialist, but so what?

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#8) On August 10, 2009 at 1:04 PM, ChannelDunlap (< 20) wrote:

Man I cannot wait for this bill(s) to get voted on.  Whichever way it goes, I am just so damn tired of arguing about healthcare. 

In a nuthsell; Bring the the Socialism. Sorry insurance companies and employees, time to go.  Pack up your stuff and find a new industry, gtfo of my healthcare.

The reasons go on and on.  Facts, actual facts, about how much we spend vs how much we get.  Facts about how many uninsured are in this country.  Facts, facts, facts.  The only thing I hear from the movement against healthcare are "the government WILL screw it up", "The goverment plan WILL cost more."  (this is, of course, ignoring the ridiculous claims that they'll refuse healthcare when you're no longer useful and all that other fear mongering extremist FOX News bred bullshit)  These are maybe's.  As certain as some may feel about it, it is hypothetical speculation.  I've already given insurance companies a chance to do it, and I can say they HAVE screwed it up, and I'll take a gamble on a government plan gladly.

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#9) On August 10, 2009 at 1:20 PM, UrbanJackBag (< 20) wrote:


Bring on the socialism?  WTF? That doesn't sound right.

 And then, on the one hand you are eagerly awaiting a usefulness test to dole out benefits (because that IS how socialism tends to operate), and then you are claiming "Don't worry, "maybe" will never happen anyway." (i.e. they will never do a "BS" usefulness test.)

You are all over the "bored" with your argument.

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#10) On August 10, 2009 at 1:32 PM, ChannelDunlap (< 20) wrote:

Jack if you would like to find an example of a socialist country which has denied critical, life saving medical care to somebody based on their usefullness, I would love to hear it. 

And yes, bring on the socialism.  I, unlike many loyal and patriotic citizens of the United States of Capitalism, have nothing against socialism.  I think it's a perfectly acceptable, albeit different, economic system, and that a good system would be a mix of both.  Some industries should be nationalized, imho.  ::runs for cover::

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#11) On August 10, 2009 at 1:33 PM, knighttof3 (57.60) wrote:

.05% of 30 million is 150,000. Not 1.5 million. Sheesh.

Being charitable, I will assume you had in mind 300 million (approx total population of the US) at first, and forgot to change the numbers.

Channel, I agree 100%. Let's get rid of the evil insurance companies and let Mommy government take care of us. They won't screw up or cost more! Look at their unblemished record!

Besides, monopolies are much less wasteful than competition. It just makes sense.

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#12) On August 10, 2009 at 1:37 PM, Melaschasm (71.43) wrote:

Right now we do not have anything resembling free market health care.  States, working with the Federal government set rules and standards that do not allow the creation of the type of insurance policies that many people want to buy. 

Just as one example:  If I want to buy a car in Indiana, but I live in Michigan, I am free to buy the car in Indiana, then pay the applicable Michigan taxes (as I would have to pay if I bought a vehicle in Michigan).  With healthcare, it is illegal for me to buy an insurance plan from Indiana, because I live in Michigan. 

If I had the freedom to buy insurance from any State, then it is likely that at least one State would offer a better insurance policy, and the competition between States would result in better healthcare and insurance for all.

From an investor standpoint, be wary of any companies in the healthcare business.  The government is likely to be picking winners and losers in the near future.  Specifically avoid long range research investments.  The US creates over half of new medical treatments, and if we take away the incentive to create new treatments, many companies trying to create something new that will take many years to make it to market are likely to be squeezed out. 

On the other hand, if this works out like the wage and price controls of the 1970s, you should expect common proceedures to be renamed with minimal differences every few years, so that the doctors can charge more for doing essentially the same thing. 

If you can predict which companies will benefit from government policies, and which will lose, you can make a fortune in the stock market over the next few years.  Since I am not sure which companies have bought enough votes in the House and Senate, I will be avoiding this sector.

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#13) On August 10, 2009 at 3:23 PM, ChannelDunlap (< 20) wrote:

knight - Again, you can speculate as to the outcome of "mommy government's" plan, with or without citing any past examples.  I can point to the insurance companies' systems which have already failed.  With something like 60% of bankrupcies coming from medical bills, 1 out of evey 6 people uninsured, millions more struggling with their costs, a per-capita cost 2x anybody else, and a life expectancy just worse than Bosnia, I'd say the gov't would have to try pretty hard to do a worse job.

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#14) On August 10, 2009 at 4:09 PM, nottheSEC (79.90) wrote:

Geez louise. Voltaire once said all this about an omelette. Simply put people that are uninsured will be insured. 

I am all for capitalism RAH RAH RAH but it is ultimately about we the people.Most people that are insured will retain there insurance but I have no doubt some employers will drop their plan. AGAIN its simple if you are not insured you will be insured.Unfortunate Illness will not force you to lose your house or declare bankruptcy.

WE the people expect and accept when things are necessary but NO business wished to be part of it for profitability or any reason that the government subsidises or steps in.

Examples of this include flood insurance through FEMA and national railroads throuigh Amtrack subsidies 

The truth is the current insured in America will be covered. In Canada companies also provide non-government medical insurance. Thanks to Devoish for this wonderful post. 

Many things are about making a buck and something are not. Besides we all know start-up small businesses provide crappy health care if any. Why not take that away from them since we ultimately pay for it in emergency care and bankruptcy default.


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#15) On August 10, 2009 at 4:51 PM, devoish (72.04) wrote:

Thanks everyone for the kind words, harsh words and especially to knighttof3 for the "fact check". The last thing  want to add to any discussion of healthcare is more bad information. But as Channel says I absolutely believe Gov't can do a better job with paying for healthcare than the insurers have. If not, we can hire Canadians, Norwegians or Germans or Swedes.


Choice is not something you get from private insurers. I would guess not one person writing on this thread has actually read their policy, understands where the restrictions are, what was removed from their coverage since they signed on, or understands whether their out of pocket payment is per procedure, per quarter, or a percentage that varies depending on procedure or drug. The idea of eliminating State oversight or allowing Deleware rules to compete in NY is just a flight to bottom. Weaker laws or lesser coverage allow lower costs, which looks cheaper until you need it. A pure gift to insurers.


TMA can fly Canadians here to the USA to get surgery that is paid for by Canadian Single Payer. They can have our healthcare for 50% less than we pay for healthinsurance, and we cannot even go to the same USA Hospital unless it is "in network". Makes me think the insurance is the expensive part, moreso than care.

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