I have experienced private medicine in the US in the past when I’ve gotten sick on business trips. My experiences in the US were generally good – fast, quality service, with current diagnostic tools – but for a price. When I walked into an emergency ward in Texas, the first words out of the reception nurse was not “What is the problem?”, but rather “How will you be paying?” In all cases I was lucky enough to have Blue Cross or company insurance cover the extra medical expenses.
I recently experienced private, two tier medicine in Canada. I visited MEDCAN in Toronto for their “comprehensive health assessment”. It took approximately 6 hours from start to finish and covered off tests that would have normally taken several days out of my time over a period of weeks to attend and then have the subsequent follow-up meeting with the doctor. The MEDCAN service was fast, quality service, with current diagnostic tools – but for a price.
I talked about the experience with a doctor friend of mine who runs a large family practice in Ontario. He was very much against two tier medicine in Canada because he feels it is undermining public medicine. He holds that medicine in Canada should be a public service – available to everyone regardless of wealth or position.
What do you think?