Wednesday, February 24, 2010

There's Nowhere Left To Run

Did anyone notice the news article about Danny Williams and his little heart problem? He had a “moderate” heart problem that became a “severe” heart problem within eight months of having it diagnosed. After his doctors told him he needed to get a valve repaired immediately or risk heart failure, he did what most people would do. He looked for the best surgeon available to repair his heart. He chose Dr. Joseph Lamelas, a cardiac surgeon at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami, Florida. Danny flew to Florida and underwent the needed surgery. He’s expected to be back at work in March.

In Canada.

Where Danny is also the Premier of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

First of all, good for you, Danny. No heart problem is “little” when it is your heart or the heart of someone you love. Secondly, good for you, Danny. Presented with a set of options, you chose the option that worked out best for you. Thirdly, good for you, Danny. You had the United States of America and the world’s best health care system available to treat you. You paid for your services and will return to your day job up north. That's the free market at its finest.  I hope you live a long, productive life.

The entire story can be found on Drudge, Fox News, The Globe and Mail, and hopefully on your news source of choice. I first learned of the story earlier in the month through an article on the National Post online. I found a couple of items in the Canadian Press’ article by Tara Brautigam very interesting. Mr. Williams is reported to have said, "I did not sign away my right to get the best possible health care for myself when I entered politics." If that is the case, and he chose Miami for his health care, it’s a safe to conclude that the American health care system is the best possible health care system. He is also reported to have said, "(But) this is not a unique phenomenon to me. This is something that happens with lots of families throughout this country, so I make no apologies for that." So, a lot of Canadian families have health challenges that they turn to the US health care system to solve. It’s interesting that such a high ranking political figure would admit that fact.

Later in the same article the Newfoundland Premier also stated that he wanted to get the surgery completed quickly. Well, who can blame the guy for that? If the ol’ ticker needs a tune-up, who wouldn’t want the work completed in a timely manner? "I would've been criticized if I had stayed in Canada and had been perceived as jumping a line or a wait list. ... I accept that. That's public life," he said.

What?! A waiting list? For medical care? Perhaps Mr. Williams was concerned that his heart would experience that pesky “heart failure” thing his doctors warned him about before he could move up the long list of Canadian citizens waiting for their turn to be treated? Could this possibly be the situation in the much vaunted government-run health care system that so many people in the United States wish to copy? If it is, fellow citizens, let me ask you two questions.

If President Obama and the Democrats in the US Congress successfully pass health care legislation that brings about government-run health care in this country (or anything close to it), where are we going to go when our lives are at stake and we need medical work completed quickly?

What are you going to do about it?


Anonymous said...

I've had a lot experience with our current systems of government 'healthcare' insurance.

I did a whole series of posts on 'healthcare' insurance last year. They are linked in a box in my middle column. But if you are a regular reader, I end some posts with "This time last year at TherExtras" and that series is coming through. Barbara

Oklahoma Granny said...

My thoughts exactly.

Brownie said...

Sir had his Kidney-Pancreas transplant almost 3 years ago. It happened quickly over a weekend - a relative died in Texas and the family directed that the KP be given to Sir in Fargo.

The coordination of all (paperwork,coordinating flying the KP to Fargo) all happened within 48 hours - actually less as the relative didn't die until 12am on Sunday - Sir went into surgery with the KP at 11:30 the same Sunday.

Not only was Sir at the hospital prepped by 7pm, another person was in the waiting (and prepped) in case it didn't work out for Sir. Not only that but a plane was on standby in case it didn't work out for that person - to fly the KP to Denver.

It was excellent coordination of services and medical expertise.

Would that have happened in Canada?

Arby said...

Brownie, you asked an excellent question. I have an aunt, an American citizen, who married a Canadian man and moved up north. She was diagnosed with and successfully treated for lung cancer in the Canadian health care system. Her treatment included the removal of half of one lung. So, unlike critics of HMO’s who never credit those policies when they work, I know that the Canadian health care system can work. Still, I would rather have the freedom to choose my healthcare provider without government intervention.

Mrs. A said...

Arby, regarding wait times. I'm sure there are wait times in the U.S. as well. I expect that if you throw enough money at the waiting list, Canadian or American, you tend to move up in the queue. That's what it sounds like Mr. Williams did. He chose - because he can afford it - a shorter line.

Good thoughts, though. I'm sure there is not one perfect system. As a Canuk, I've really appreciated our health care system. When ds needed a kidney problem fixed, it was fixed in short order. I don't want to begin to guess what his diagnosis and treatment would have cost us. On the flip side, a friend with cancer was told she had no treatment options left in Canada. She jumped the border and received treatment in NY and lived another 2 years. As long as you're a square peg fitting in the square hole, Canadian health care is awesome.

Linda said...

Mrs. A, It's not about money. We are broke. We do not have insurance. My child was in an ER last month. She was seen immediately, with a specialist called in within a few hours and surgery in the morning. We told them up front we could not pay but would do the best we could. They promised me that by law, they would treat me as though I had the best insurance and cash overflowing. (TX)