Health insurance should be like automobiles. You buy the one you want, need, or can afford. If you can't afford a car, take the bus = Obamacare. We used to have affordable health insurance -- we don't anymore. The rates have risen dramatically since Obamacare. Nor can we choose our own doctor (well, you can, but then you have zero coverage).
Obamacare is nothing like what it should be. If it was as Patriot08TO described, that would be fine. Its when the rates go up and the coverage goes away that people get upset. Whatever you had 10 years ago in the US was probably still far superior to what we have now. Its not hard to find people paying double what they were and still paying the first $10,000. (That would be me).
I cannot comment on Obamacare per se, but I did have that experience with a contract in the states pre-Obamacare any years ago. So in my opinion the US system was very well broken before Obamacare/Affordable Care Act.
Instead of discussing health care in the US, I like to discuss how it works here in Canada. I hear shocking statements that aren't true about Canadian care, quite repeatedly, and it is important to get proper information out there. What I hear is kind of disturbing, because truth should matter even if someone disagrees with it.
1) Do we have massive wait lists? The answer is no, there's no central government wait list. Each doctor and/or hospital deals with patient loads independently. Sometimes (not always, sometimes) we have longer waits in Canada for elective, non-emergent care. Why? Because we all have free and fair access and no one is denied care. For example, if you go into a doctor with a pain in your shoulder and they recommend an MRI, yes it might be 1 to 3 weeks before the MRI clinic will scan you (there's no central wait list, each clinic has different patient loads). But that is for general pain that isn't emergent or serious pain. But on the contrary, if you have severe pain and are in a hospital ER with dire symptoms, you'll get an MRI immediately when you're in the ER. That's how it works here, there's not a 'central government wait list' for services and its triaged based on each individual situation. The government doesn't choose, medical professionals make the choices with their patients on a case by case basis. Listening to American media, I hear all kinds of crazy and false stories about waits in Canada.
2) Does the government of Canada choose your doctor for you or ration your care? NO
, it is much like the US. You call doctor offices to find out if they have availability, and you have 100% choice. Since we have no network to limit coverage, you can call any doctor office pretty much in the country (although for family doctors you will want to stay in your province since its a provincial health plan) for services. We actually have more doctor choice than Americans do, precisely because laws make doctor networks illegal and government has a role to play. When I was in the USA, I was shocked to learn insurance companies can dictate what doctors you see and what they want to pay. This is an example of where government involvement creates more 'freedom' in health care decision making, and why the government fear card played in the USA is kind of silly.
3) Is our system totally socialised? NO
, just the insurance mechanism. And what OHIP doesn't cover, you can buy out of pocket supplemental private insurance to cover extras. There are professional surveys that suggest there are more independent, self-employed private practice family doctors in Canada than in the USA where many doctors have to join group practices as an employee just to deal with the administrative hassles and insurance billing problems. Now if a doctor is part of a hospital or group practice they are probably employees and take a salary, but its the same difference in the USA. A hospital will always have more rules and regulations over doctors than if they enter private, independent practice. Also, numerous services are provided privately. Drugs aren't universal in Canada, and most people have private supplemental plans to help pay for it, but base prices for drugs do start out cheaper here. Many services your doctor request are performed by private enterprise: e.g. lab work, medical supplies, etc. It isn't totally 'government run' and doctors are often self-employed and operate privately.
4) Aren't Canadians drowning in taxes? NO
, with the possible exception of Quebec, which is the francophone province that has a lot of duplicate services and taxes because they like to pretend they are their own nation, but the bottom line is that most provinces outside Quebec have very competitive taxes to US states. The general rule of thumb: consumption/sales taxes are higher in most of Canada, property taxes on average are lower than most US localities, and income taxes are about the same in my personal experience. We certainly aren't drowning in taxes, especially since higher paying jobs are easier to get in my experience. I worked in the US and I paid more income/pay cheque taxes than here in Ontario and pay was consistently lower state-side for similar type work. Our health care system in fact is paid out of general taxation, there's not a special separate tax line taken out of your pay cheque for our health plans. Even in the USA, you guys have FICA payroll taxes for taking out for Medicare. We don't even have that! LOL
I hope this clears up some misconceptions people may have. I've personally never experienced excessive waits in my family, among my friends, or with myself regarding health care here in Canada. You can argue Obamacare and the role of government until the end of days as we know it, I don't have to live with your health insurance system, so I'm not inclined to care (I mostly listen to the debates in America for the shock value, #WTFmoments). But I wanted to express some truths about Canadian care. We have a damn good health care system and most of us are proud of it. I don't hear that very often in the states.
Canada has the most pro-business health care system in North America. For all my right leaning political friends, if you are a small or large business, you don't have to pay anything to provide health coverage to your employees. You can be an entrepreneur or contract worker and be self employed, you still have coverage and have to pay nothing out of pocket. Most businesses offer a private drug/dental/vision plan to supplement the health plan, but that's not even a fraction of what a full health plan costs. This alone would make me think the US would want to convert to our system.
My left leaning political friends like the Canadian health system because its equitable to the poor and less well off.
Its literally win-win for everyone. That's why no political party dares to take out the system we have, no matter where they lie on the left-right spectrum.
But despite our similarities, Canada and the US are still different nations. We're not the same, and maybe this is just one of those things the US will never get due to the nature of people in America. This concept that government only exists to fund the military and throw people in prison is quite foreign to a Canadian. And if that's where America is headed, so be it. I'll just keep saying #WTFmoments. LOL