To celebrate the Canada Day long weekend, I did what most Torontonians do: I braved hours of traffic to get up to Northern (but still pretty Southern) Ontario, where we are lucky to have many lakes and where a good chunk of the population owns cottages. Even if you or your family don't have one (as is the case for me), someone you know will and you can likely convince one of them to let you come along for the ride. So myself and three friends piled into an SUV and headed north to enjoy a weekend of sunshine, swimming, and campfires.
After a slight mishap landed us in an emergency room for an hour on Saturday, I was reminded of the differences in the health care systems between Canada and the US. We all heard about the recent decision by the Supreme Court to uphold ObamaCare, particularly the provision that all Americans have to have health insurance or else they will pay a penalty. This proposal has been a topic of much debate, with the Obama camp arguing that the provision means that sickness and injury won't financially ruin anyone in the US, while the Romney camp argues that this just means that there is now another tax for hardworking families to pay up. While the US health care system is undoubtedly still considered largely privatized, this does, however, bring the model closer in line to what we have in Canada, where all you need when you show up to an emergency room on a Saturday night is your health card.
While this isn't the place for the debate on public versus private health care, this decision does mean that the medical device excise tax is still scheduled to go ahead as planned in the US in 2013, much to the consternation of many stakeholders in the medical device world.
It also led to some hilarious confusion with Americans threatening to move to Canada because they were unhappy with the Supreme Court decision and don't like ObamaCare. We can only hope that they are sarcastic and realize that we do pay in to a public health care system here.
In any event, to my fellow Canadians: Happy Canada Day and hope you enjoyed your long (likely cottage) weekend.
To my American neighbours/neighbors (I'm feeling patriotic today and had to throw in some Canadian spelling): Happy Fourth of July and hopefully your holiday won't include any hospital trips that cause you to ponder ObamaCare!