I've been negligent over the past couple of weeks in my postings, busy with a hectic real estate related scheduled and preoccupied with a caring for an elderly mother now hospitalized in Collingwood's General and Marine (G&M) Hospital. Sooner or later many of us will be caught in the cross-fire of caring for our parents while still with kid's on the payroll and I am getting first hand experience as to what this means.
Fortunately we have a health care system that is (a) accessible and (b) is largely paid for by our tax system. In 1991 my then 14 month old son had open heart surgery resulting in a 3 week stay at Sick Children's Hospital in Toronto. The cost to me? A few hundred dollars in accommodation expenses for my wife's stay in Toronto close to the hospital. Anywhere else other than Canada and I would have mortgaged everything I owned to pay what was probably a $250K tab. A recent stay two week stay in the G&M for my mother cost $45 for the ambulance ride to get there likewise a two week stay at a rehab facility in Penetang for her physical therapy cost $60 for the television rental the rest of which was paid for by tax dollars.
We as Canadians truly take our health care system and its related costs for granted. I lived in the U.S. for four years from 1992 to 1996 and despite having a company benefit plan, routinely had to pay out of pocket for deductibles or expenses not covered by our plan which amounted to a few thousand dollars every year. Because it seemingly costs us nothing out of pocket, we as Canadians have lost sight of the fact that a 15 or 20 minute trip to see our Doctor is probably a $400 or $500 visit. It's not just the Doctor's time you are taking it's all his other overhead and expenses for rent, heat, hydro, staffing, supplies etc. that need to be covered.
I gain a keen perspective and appreciation for our system every day while visiting the G&M Hospital to visit my mother. We are truly fortunate to have a facility with such caring staff in our community. With an aging population and a significant influx of retirees migrating into the area, I can't help but think about the added pressure it will place on our hospital and medical community as a whole. Amongst other priorities, the $1 billion being spent on security for the G20 Summit could clearly be better utilized, ensuring that our current and future medical needs are met.