Hernia surgery is very simple procedure involving one incision about an inch long tucking your guts back through the tear in your muscle inserting a piece of "mesh" that reinforces the area while it heals and stapling it shut. My brother had it scheduled in a week, spent about three hours getting it done and then was recovering for a week. So scheduling it and then leaving Toronto for Michigan and being home a week later is not at all unheard of. My Wife broke her ankle in a car accident and had to have surgery to repair it. Her surgery was scheduled and completed within a week. Her recovery took two months, but the surgery itself was done in less than a week and was not life threatening.
I'm happy your cousin got what he was seeking/looking for, he was an impatient American temporarily in Canada.
It is very rare that a Canadian comes to the US for medical services, its not that its unheard of, it is just exceedingly rare. It is more common on Americans relying on Canadian pharmacies to afford drugs than Canadians who come south. Here in Ontario we had such a problem with Americans crossing into Canada for free health care (using friends' health cards) they started putting photo identification on our health cards to put a stop to it! LOL
I wouldn't have made the choice to pay out of pocket and go to Michigan to get the procedure several weeks quicker, but that was his choice. I've had a hernia, its hardly the most painful thing in the world. No one wants surgeries to begin with, so waiting was not a problem for me.
If your wife had a crushed ankle in a car accident while here in Canada, she would have received quick service here as well. Things are run on triage, that is not the same thing as a hernia surgery at all. If they realize you have a crushed ankle in a car accident, and it is going to heal in a warped position and needs immediate care, you will get that surgery likely the same day or two of coming into the ER from the car accident. Its called triaged care. You don't actually believe a doctor in a Canadian ER would say no, let that ankle heal in a warped position, and then we'll re-brake it and re-set it in 3 months, do you? I know you are American, but do you really believe that? Is that what you're hearing about our system?!? LOL!
The reason why I'm repeating some of this for you is that even though I've mentioned it, and I've acknowledged some the weaknesses in our Canadian system, I don't think you still have comprehended the triage concept to health care in Canada. A car accident patient is treated on the spot, someone with a simple hernia surgery will wait a bit. A crushed ankle is not life threatening, but that is not quite a hernia surgery either. An emergency is an emergency, you don't wait at all for that. Many, many years ago my brother had a car accident and had reconstructive surgery for a broke nose within 24 hours here in Ontario. Another story, but a true one. No that's not 'scientific survey' but it is what happened.
Now if you have a deviated septum, have lived with it all your life, and you need to schedule the surgery but are otherwise healthy, you might very well wait 6 months here in Ontario. Gasp, you might even wait 8 months if you're in a busy hospital system (although you can choose to go to another one and get another opinion)! That might be very true. These are stories you hear that are absolutely true about our health care system. That's how Canadian care works, its triaged. Despite some of our waits for elective care, I still think we have a superior health care system.
Does any of this triage concept make sense? I hope so, because that is how care works here. There's not really a specific wait time for any procedure really, each one is different based on individual case. Our government does measure average wait times by surveying hospitals, however. But it doesn't give the full picture, and it isn't a 'central government wait list' like you hear on American news outlets. That is a myth, that is a lie.
I also apologize if any of you think I'm being long-winded. I find this discussion entertaining.
And to level with you and be straightforward, the USA does have faster access to a number of elective procedures and services, provided you have enough financial/insurance backing to do so. I have never said the US doesn't have this advantage.
You are correct in your assertions on the hernia surgery, but I would debate getting that specific procedure quicker doesn't equate higher quality per se. The problem in the US, and the debate, comes back to one common point: it is only better if you have the money and resources. This is hard to maintain when you fall ill, lose employment and employer insurance, and your fragmented US system can be deadly for someone who gets cancer, loses a job, switches to medicaid, has to postpone or alter treatments because of it.
It might be months between losing employer insurance and qualifying for a state program like medicaid in the US, that's fragmented health care. Or it could be your private insurance just starts to deny payments suddenly, using lame exclusionary clauses, such as what I experienced in the past. And while all this fragmented health nightmare is going on, Americans get bills. Countless, endless bills and must argue and fight and negotiate endless billing nightmares while they have these serious health ailments. I know your health care system well, I'm not a typical Canadian as I've lived in your country. I know very well where the US system fails and has huge gaps. Just because you can get a quicker hernia surgery or pay for a quicker MRI picture with appropriate insurance coverages doesn't mean your system has better outcomes, because health care is a damn complicated subject. Terribly complicated.
It is so terribly complicated that it is very hard to explain to an American that while we have problems in Canada, and it very well could be 6-8 months to have surgery to correct your deviated septum, its hard to explain why that doesn't mean we have inferior health care and yet we have better health outcomes at the end of the day according to World Health Organization stats. Cherry picking and focusing on how long some elective procedures take here in Canada, which again we do have a difficult time with managing, does not have any relation to the overall quality of your health care here. I'm not young anymore, I've had all kinds of health issues. Hernia, cyst removal, broken bones, sliced my hand open once with glass, I've got severe allergies and have had to take shots, and this list could go on longer. I've always been treated very well with our Canadian health system. Did I wait a few months to see the allergy specialist many years ago? Yes, I did, and then I never had to wait after that initial consultation visit and I've been receiving allergy shots for decades now. And did I mention that I've never paid a dime of my own money to receive this top quality care?
The only time in my life I had problems with health access was when I ventured state side for that job in Pennsylvania, which was well documented earlier in this discussion a few weeks ago. And if you recall, I had mentioned I just got up and left. I left that contract early many years ago and willingly became unemployed to find new work here back home in Canada than to deal with that billing nightmare down there, and beyond that I suppose those doctors never got paid for any of the work they performed even though I had a paid insurance policy refusing to make payment. Unfortunately for many Americans, they don't have the choice I had to just get up and leave and finish treatment somewhere else for free.
The fact it takes a few months for a hernia surgery here in Canada? Not something I worry over. It could be improved, but that doesn't mean we have inferior health care. I didn't pay a dime - not one penny - out of pocket for my surgeries and procedures over the years and always received professional care by good people.
I hope this all makes sense to you, because I have actually had fun explaining it. It is a discussion, nothing more or nothing less. I am happy to listen all viewpoints. Your system has some perks, ours does as well. I clearly think our perks provide a superior experience (not receiving a bill for your medical services is liberating and so much better than the American experience), and I think its something proved by scientific surveys and stats. If you get cancer here and are forced to leave an employer and go onto disability to recover, your health care will be consistent, you won't have to shift doctors or hospitals in the middle of treatment and experience denials of care when you need it the most (this is one of the more deadly features of US care), and you don't have to worry about the bill. That's when you NEED health care, not a designer CT scan you can buy out of pocket more quickly for a general checkup. Yes, thats a perk the US health system has, but how much value is there in that vs. the other topics discussed? My opinion is still that the problems in our Canadian health systems are much easier to manage and improve on than some of the failures you see in the US with often more serious health ailments with fragmented and care denials. And i say this not as a judgment, but because I want the best for you and everyone you live around. I would hate to know someone in your country couldn't get the treatment he or she needs just be cause of inability to pay for it.