This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable

January 28, 2009
Canada’s hospitals cut the paperwork, emphasize care

Prior to his election, President Barack Obama spoke about the money being spent on paperwork and other administrative costs attached to medical care, hundreds of billions of dollars which he said could be redirected to the care itself.

Those savings are already being realized in Canada, where basic health care is universal and, in most parts of that country, free — and where remarkably little paperwork is involved.

Each hospital in Canada gets a global budget, a set amount which is all they have to spend for the year. They don’t price things like bandages, drugs or even overnight stays individually. The cost for these things and for doctor service is negotiated in advance.

Worldfocus special correspondent Edie Magnus, producer Rebecca Haggerty and shooter Megan Thompson report from Montreal.

View an extended half-hour interview with economist Uwe Reinhardt: How the U.S. measures up to Canada’s health care system.




[…] front door and through the billing process with far fewer administrators, far less hassle, and at far lower cost than the system we have here—and that was the big attraction of a “near single-payer” […]


The term “free” as she states, is incorrect. At no additional cost to you would be correct. We Canadians have already paid for the system through our tax contributions. So this system is somewhat of a “paid in advance” model.


Dear Sir,
I, Harish Naik, am working research nurse at Clinigene International Ltd,Group of BIOCON, also am perceiving MHA at —–ICFAI UNIVERCITY ———— .
My resume is a good summary of my capabilities and commitment. However, I would appreciate an opportunity to meet you in person / call where my knowledge, flexibilities, experience and hardwork can best be accessed from you for your esteemed company/hospital.
Thanks for sparing your valuable time in going through my resume. Looking forword for your call.
Harish Naik.
Enclosed: Resume


I feel your story does not accurately reflect the health care situation in Canada.
I personally cannot get treatment for two conditions.
This is due to financial, political and medical restraints.
If I had private insurance, I could get these conditions treated in the U.S.
The health care in and around Toronto hospitals is atrocious, extremely long waits for routine medical assistance.
Be careful what you model after.
It is unversally bad up here!


A couple of questions/points? What’s the US unemployment percentage? I wonder what it would be after all the hospitals laid off nearly their entire billing department?

This notion that things like MRIs are high end non emeregency medicine is a bit confusing. For example, I have a friend who was having headaches, tingling and numbness in her arms. The Dr. decided she needed to have an MRI, she was able to have one that day or the next. Turns out she had a massive hematoma (growing pool of blood on the brain) and if she had had to wait for a couple of months are even one month she may have gone blind or even died. The Dr. even said that it was good they caught it when they did because even another few days would have made a difference. So if you were to look at the two systems I don’t know how you could give Canada’s system an A when it appears to have wholes in the actual healthcare.

The woman (I can’t remember her name) did point out that there are budget short comings. This is quite frankly the scariest issue for me about this whole single payer healthcare system. What happens when the government runs out of money? What happens when we go into a recession? I guess maybe the answer lies in the womans response to a question about budgets “the more patients we have, the more endanger our budgets are.” So when money gets tight are they going to turn you away to save money?

Also, the reporter said “they don’t try to lure new patients in the door with the latest and greatest procedures” So who is going to be doing the innovative surgeries?

I agree the US healthcare system needs to be fixed, but I’m leaning more towards a more free market change.


All the information here is absolute bullshit. I am a Canadian, I have been paying my taxes for over 30 years and now in Ontario I am refused health care. My health is going downhill and I have actually begged Karen GordonYou should be receiving the letter any day now. I cannot do anymore for you here without the original birth certificate. The original may look exactly like the one you have, however we can only accept certified true copies from the originator, which would be the Registrar General’s office. Any further appeals should be directed to the General Manager for review. The instructions for the process of appeal are on the reverse side of the document I sent to you.


Karen Gordon

A/Program Manager-Retail Offices Branch

Health Card Services (OHIP)

Service Ontario—“making it easier”

75 Albert St.

Ottawa, ON K1P 5Y9

Tel (613) 783-4423

Fax (613) 783-4444


From: Wanda butt []
Sent: Tuesday, February 10, 2009 12:53 PM
To: Gordon, Karen (MGS)
Subject: RE: ohip renewals

Hi Karen, I have still not received your letter and I really need it. I am also asking that you please send me an image of the Birth Certificate that you do accept because from what I have seen it is exactly like the one you have. I am still blown away that you cut me off from care in the middle of treatment. I am out of work and cannot get better. This is not right, you are aware of the suffering I am going through and you know I cannot get a copy different than the one you have. I am swearing to you now I did nothing fraudulent in the production of that ID. It is a legitimate certified copy! I honestly feel that you are violating my human rights as a taxpaying Canadian. I cannot get better and cannot return to work without seing my Dr. The province allowed me to see a Dr. and start treatment and then cut me off in the middle, how can that be justified. Even my benefits from work have been discontinued because I do not have a Dr. s note.

you think health care is easy in Canada….think again, this lady offered me no other alternatives to healthcare just a bunch of #’s for me to pay for new ID. I am supposed to be entitled to health care in Canada as a taxpayer…..any suggestions


@#3 Rick. The correct question is what percentage of Canadians’ income, or GDP, funds the system. In most of Europe, and Canada, the cost has not yet risen above about 9% maximum. In the US, it’s close to 15% and rising fast. Nor in the EU & Canada is there a wait for urgent treatment, which is handled quickly and in full. There is, however, a wait for non-emergency ‘high-end’ procedures. In general, the only people who come south, or in the EU go private, are those who can afford to pay extra. The attitude in the US is “What’s the point of being wealthy if you can’t jump the queue?” In the EU and Canada it’s “What’s the point of being really sick if people keep jumping the queue?” . I was most impressed by the line: “In Canada our business is health. In the US health is a business.” If the rest of the world has what some Americans quaintly call ‘socialised medicine’, all I can say is “Bring it on.” I know a few unwealthy sick Americans who’d be delighted to move to Canada for treatment. Or Mexico. Or almost anywhere else.


We love WorldFocus. But I’m curious if we’re going to get the skinny on just what percentage of each Canadian’s tax dollars funds a system that has many of them complaining over the time lag between need and treatment…And just how many of them opt to come south to the States because they can’t wait?


Excellent critique of the US health care. It is a shame that doctors are deliberately excluded from practicing through manipulated mechanicism like USMLE in order to create shortage and control prices and eliminating the free market dynamics that would control and bring down the cost of health care.
Why is it that Americans are force to pay an exorbitant price for pharmaceuticals by citing safety concerns and preventing import of drugs from oversea by the consumers ( who can not afford to pay the local prices ) when the drugs dispensed at the pharmacy often come from overseas anywhere? We are been deprived of the basic right to medical care.

The government is suppose to be there when we need help but when a person really needs help the system rejects them. Thus a small problem becomes a big problem and increases the cost a thousand fold. It is moronic to claim that the government is there to help when in fact it is a facade ( an illusion). The 50 million and growing number of uninsured people screams for immediate change. A universal health care system which provides basic health care coverage should be mandated. It will definitely help lower cost through early and timely intervention. No doctors should be wasting their talents, knowledge and skills when millions are without medical care. Those who can pay may upgrade to private care with better opportunities for selection but the baseline coverage must be in place.


I cannot agree more with the findings of your reporter! The health care system should focus on the patient’s needs, not his insurance carrier’s needs! As for the issues of complexe claiming procedures and practically insane insurance demands. I totally agree that US insurance companies are out of control when it comes to presenting insurance claims. We in Quebec have to appologize to them(US insurance carriers) all the time when we submit our bills on behalf of our US patients because our bills are ‘too simple’ and don’t include codes and itemization of every other medical procedure or supply dispensed. God Bless America! And God help them too! EH!!!

Produced by Creative News Group LLC     ©2020 WNET.ORG     All rights reserved

Distributed by American Public Television