That is unadulterated B.S.!!!!
I am Canadian, and needed to use the system a few years ago for a serious illness. Guess what? My choice of doctor, my choice of specialist and my needs met NOW. No delays, no 'panels' and no bureaucrats.
I called my doctor for to get an annual done last month, I was in 3 days later, he wanted a specialist to check out one thing, I saw that specialist 4 days later, and all was fine.
Yup, but he could have gone to a private MRI and got it done the same day, at worst the next. He chose the government pay route. His obviously was not a life threatening issue. I had my MRI and catscans done as needed. No waiting. No charge.
Your friend had the option of going to a private MRI clinic. Your point is?
Keep in mind, Canada sends 1/3 less as a percentage of GDP on healthcare as opposed to the USA and guess what? We get better results... we live longer.
Our taxes are less... even Romney commented on that in the debate last night. Our debt as a percentage of GDP is far less than yours, and our deficit should be gone in 3 years. We have a trade surplus, and considerably less unemployment than the USA. Our banking system is recognized as the best in the G8.
I would not trade you my health care system for yours ever. My friends in the States, who have healthcare coverage, can only go to doctors their HMO allows, need pre-approval on procedures, have to consider their co-pays in the timing of appointments, and need to make decisions based on financial considerations, and not health ones. And they work for a government agency, not a private concern.
I don't lose coverage due to preexisting conditions, and I don't have to worry about changing jobs and worrying about what will change in my coverage.
Nope, won't trade ours for yours, ever. We pay less to get healthcare and we live longer. The proof is in the pudding.
Sounds more to me like you got lucky... Are you in BC? My experience and the experience of most of my friends is very different. I've been on waiting lists and trying to get a doctor for a couple years now. My choices are the walk in clinics(where you are under pressure to hurry up and leave and have <10 minutes to meet, explain try and convince them to think about checking something, or the ER(where you wait even more hours than the walk in, last time was several hours while I was coughing up blood, and almost unable to breathe, to be given a chest x-ray and told to piss off as it "probably wasn't TB or cancer"). Wwhether the cause is immediately life threatening or not, I'd prefer not to feel like I'm drowning if I lie down, this has happened at least once a year for the last several.
Even relatively minor stuff, which I know could be inexpensively dealt with and which would make a big difference to pain at work for me won't be done(cost about 10$ for a syringe every few months, or a very short day surgery).
The reason nobody would deal with it, and the first time I even found out it could be dealt with was when I was dating a doctor's daughter.
He was not surprised, but gave me a good explanation as to why they'd always told me it was something that couldn't be fixed, as the billing they could send the government for dealing with it wouldn't cover their cost for it, and that it was a common problem with Canadian medical care. He fixed it in under a minute, with a single small syringe. The only doctor back here I could bother into dealing with it took a half hour, poked my wrist full of holes, broke a syringe and generally made a mess.
He figured out a few other health issues I've had for years, and suggested that I see if I could pester a doctor here into sending me to a specialist, but I've had no luck so far.