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Tue Jan 24, 2012, 06:57 AM

Wendell Potter on the Sarah Burke death

http://wendellpotter.com/2012/01/park-city-vantage-point-puts-tragedy-of-american-health-care-in-vivid-relief/

Instead, her family will be laying her to rest in her native Canada — and pleading for money to help cover the estimated $550,000 they owe for the medical care she received at University of Utah Hospital over nine days.

The irony is that had the accident occurred in Canada, her family would not be facing having to come up with more than half a million dollars to pay for her care. Her care would have been covered because, unlike the U.S., Canada has a system of universal coverage.

An estimated 700,000 American families file for bankruptcy every year because of medical debt. No one in Canada finds themselves in that predicament, nor do they face losing their homes as many Americans do when they become critically ill or suffer an injury.

One of the things my colleagues in the insurance industry tried to get Americans to believe was that Canadians flock to the U.S. to get medical care they cannot get in their own country. That is a myth. Yes, some Canadians come to the U.S. for treatment, but not in large numbers. In fact, polls in Canada consistently show high levels of satisfaction among citizens with their country’s single-payer system.

I probably would not have known about a fundraising effort that has been started by Burke’s friends had my wife not come across a tweet about it Friday morning. I haven’t been able to find anything about it so far in any media here in Utah. There was a report about her accident on the morning news, but no mention of the fundraiser.

Wendell is a Senior Analyst at the Center for Public Integrity where this first appeared on 11/23/12



Commentary from Canada--note that Alberta is Canada's most conservative province

http://www.calgaryherald.com/opinion/Remington+Sorry+your+loss+here+your+bill/6029293/story.html

Morgan says Burke's case should be a sobering reminder to Canadians of what could happen in a privately-insured market, rather than a public system where everyone is insured against a catastrophic event.

In 2000, the U.S. health policy journal Health Affairs wrote about the issue under the heading "Gouging the Medically Uninsured: A Tale of Two Bills."

"Overcharging the uninsured is one of the many unintended and largely overlooked results of our decade-long obsession with curbing health-care costs," it said. "Powerful interest groups — government, employers, insurers, hospitals, medical equipment vendors, and health care professionals — have fought vigorously to protect their interests. The uninsured, with no organized voice, emerge as losers."

Since 2001, family health insurance premiums in the U.S. have increased 113 per cent, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, with annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage growing to $15,073 in 2011. Due to the economic downturn, the number of Americans going without insurance has grown by one million to 49.9 million people.

We complain of health-care costs and outcomes in Canada, but the U.S. ranks behind Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the U.K. in five areas of health system performance: quality, efficiency, access to care, equity and mortality, according to a report by the Commonwealth Fund.

It is, indeed, a sobering reminder to Canadians how lucky we are. As one commentator wrote of the Burke family’s experience with the U.S. system: "We are sorry for your loss. Here’s your bill."

10 replies, 2022 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 10 replies Author Time Post
Reply Wendell Potter on the Sarah Burke death (Original post)
eridani Jan 2012 OP
Firebrand Gary Jan 2012 #1
meaculpa2011 Jan 2012 #2
newfie11 Jan 2012 #3
meaculpa2011 Jan 2012 #4
obamanut2012 Jan 2012 #7
meaculpa2011 Jan 2012 #9
obamanut2012 Jan 2012 #6
Justice wanted Jan 2012 #5
midnight Jan 2012 #8
newfie11 Jan 2012 #10

Response to eridani (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 07:00 AM

1. Dear Canada

I am so sorry that our health care system is so fucked up.

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 07:03 AM

2. My health insurance...

covers me when I'm traveling outside the USA. Why doesn't the Canadian public insurance system cover its citizens when traveling outside of Canada?

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Response to meaculpa2011 (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 07:05 AM

3. medicare doen't either n/t

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Response to newfie11 (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 07:12 AM

4. I just attended a Medicare Advantage Seminar...

and asked that specific question. The answer I got was that it does cover emergency treatment when traveling outside the country. You get emergency treatment and submit the invoices. I travel frequently so this is important to me.

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Response to meaculpa2011 (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 07:46 AM

7. They gave you the wrong info

However, Original Medicare and Medicare private health plans must cover your medical care you get outside of the U.S. in the following limited cases:

Medicare will pay for emergency services in Canada if you are traveling a direct route, without unreasonable delay, between Alaska and another state and the closest hospital that can treat you is in Canada.
Medicare will pay for medical care you get on a cruise ship if:
The ship is registered to the U.S.;
The doctor is registered with the Coast Guard; and
You get the care while the ship is in U.S. territorial waters. This means the ship is in a U.S. port or within six hours of arrival at or departure from a U.S. port.
Medicare may pay for non-emergency in-patient services in a foreign hospital (and connected physician and ambulance costs). It is covered if it is closer to your residence than the nearest U.S. hospital that is available and equipped to treat you medical condition. This may happen if, for example, you live near the border of Mexico or Canada.

Some supplemental insurance, such as Medigap plans, provide coverage for foreign travel. Medigap plans C through G and M and N cover 80 percent of the cost of emergency care abroad during the first two months of a trip with a $250 deductible and up to $50,000 in a lifetime.

Some Medicare private health plans also cover emergency care when you travel outside the United States. Check with your plan to see what costs and rules apply when you travel outside of the United States.


http://www.medicareinteractive.org/page2.php?topic=counselor&page=script&slide_id=339



My Father still works, and has to travel to Europe alot on business, and because of this, keeps his employer's private health insurance.

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 08:05 AM

9. Original Medicare will not...

pay for most treatment outside of the US. I'm an independent contractor so the Medicare Advantage Plan I'll be opting for covers me anywhere in the world.

However, why doesn't the Canadian health system cover their citizens when traveling outside of Canada?

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Response to meaculpa2011 (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 07:42 AM

6. Not all private insurance does

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 07:24 AM

5. I'm sorry the American Repubs and Greedy our dragging Canada's good name in the mud

because IT can't bear to see Everyone being treated as Equals when it comes to basic needs like health care.

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 07:49 AM

8. Private insurance market VS Public Insurance Market.. It's a life and death difference...

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 08:19 AM

10. One interesting thing about ChampVA is they do cover medical bills out of country

If you are an expatiate living in another country and have this, you have to pay first and ChampVA reimburses you.

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