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Canadian Health Coverage Supports Rural Care; PPACA Cuts Our Insurance Costs

A friend from Canada visited us at Lake Herman this weekend. Fun people that we are, we peppered each other with questions about our nations' health care systems. Our friend shared one anecdote that should give pause to anyone thinking Canada's socialized health coverage program provides worse care than ours.

My friend was working in the Yukon last year. She felt fine, but during her regular check-up (and she does have her check-ups regularly, since Canada covers that), her doctor suggested she undergo a test to see if she had a condition that a family member has. Unfortunately, the equipment for this test isn't available in the Yukon.

So the doctor arranged for my friend to have this test done in Vancouver, British Columbia, over 900 miles away. The health care system arranged and paid for the appointment, the test, and the flight to Vancouver. All my friend had to do was show up at the airport on time.

The Yukon is more rural and isolated than anywhere in South Dakota. Health care and other services and goods can be hard to get, as is the case in any rural area. But Canada's socialized health coverage system, rather than making the shortage works, takes extra steps to ensure rural folks can access the same quality health care as their urban compatriots.

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Speaking of government health insurance, the Kaiser Family Foundation has a new online calculator to help you figure out how much your family's health insurance may cost under our pale shadow of Canada's excellent guaranteed health coverage. I just punched in the data for my family. KFF estimates that under the Affordable Care Act, the Heidelbergers could pay $3,265 per year ($272 a month) for a "Silver" plan, which would lower our out-of-pocket costs and provide better coverage than our current plans, which combined cost us over $500 a month.

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Our Canadian guest accompanied us to the Sioux Empire Fair yesterday. We did not witness the carnie drug bust, but we did see the "Stop ObamaCare!" petition at the Tea Party booth and the "Support ObamaCare!" petition at the Planned Parenthood booth. You can guess which one we signed.


  1. Michael Black 2013.08.05

    Cory, I keep hearing about the "subsidies" the gov't will provide us for help in paying our insurance premiums. How are these monies going to be distributed? Will we have to pay full price and then be reimbursed at tax time?

  2. Jenny 2013.08.05

    Also, as an employee at Mayo Clinic, Canadians that need to get a rare procedure done, or a second opinion for a diagnosis, have the option of coming to Rochester MN. This is paid for by the Canadian Healthcare system.

  3. Joan 2013.08.05

    I keep hearing all the good things about the Canadian health care system, along with those of other countries, and then I hear the American naysayers, who think there can't possibly be anything better than what we have had.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.08.05

    The American naysayers need to have some Canadian guests over for the weekend.

  5. MC 2013.08.05

    Will I meet yours on Thursday?

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.08.06

    Alas, no, MC: she's back on the job in Canada today. But I'll keep an eye out for you... around noon, right? Maybe we can order healthy fruit Blizzards so as to put less burden on the health care system.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.08.08

    Michael Black, I think I have an answer to your question. This July 2012 Kaiser Family Foundation document says that the premium subsidy is a "refundable and advanceable" tax credit. That means you get it, regardless of your tax liability, at the time you buy your coverage on the exchange. The KFF subsidy calculator FAQs say that when you enroll in a new policy, Uncle Sam sends the subsidy straight to your insurer; you pay the remainder. Make sense?

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