Loving on a healthcare system

4 min readAug 8, 2019


If you could pick any healthcare, what would it look like? (Sharing some infographics & asking for case studies.)

We’ve been told that we love our private healthcare. We’ve been told that we’d be way better off without private industry.

I had heard that Australia, unlike Canada, has a private option for healthcare. But I didn’t know Australia also has tax penalties on middle-to-high income earners who do not have private insurance. More surprises were in “Canada should take health-care lessons from Australia.”

We’ve been told that we’d be willing to “wait in line” — or not. But I didn’t really understand that waiting in line wasn’t a customer service issue. It’s not like waiting in line at the store. It means waiting for weeks. For instance, here’s what waiting means in Canada:

Infographic from https://www.cihi.ca/en/commonwealth-fund-survey-2016-infographic

Happy with healthcare?

So I started to wonder, are Canadians really happy with their healthcare? Or more important, of all the countries that have universal healthcare, which country’s consumers are the most happy? And would that system suit us?

Turns out, there is a bit information out there about different proposals and how they’re working in different countries. Take for example, “Considering “Single Payer” Proposals in the U.S.: Lessons from Abroad”

“A common misconception among U.S. policymakers and the public is that all universal health care systems are highly centralized, as is the case in a true single-payer model. However, across 12 high-income countries with universal health care systems, centralization is not a consistent feature. Both decision-making power and financing are divided in varying degrees among federal, regional/provincial, and local governments.”

Check out that table at the top of this article again. Different countries manage healthcare in different ways. It’s not all centralized. So that mental picture of being sad, oppressed cogs getting ground up in a totalitarian machine? Not really accurate.

The Commonwealth Fund has other comparisons, for example on costs, in an earlier report “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, 2014 Update: How the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally”:

Chart from https://www.commonwealthfund.org/sites/default/files/___media_images_publications_fund_report_2014_june_davis_mirror_2014_es1_for_web_h_511_w_740.jpg

Looking at diabetes: a big healthcare issue

Diabetes effects a huge number of US and takes up a huge amount of resources, as this infographic from “The Cost of Diabetes” highlights:

Infographic from http://www.diabetes.org/assets/img/advocacy/2018-cost-of-diabetes.jpg

There have been comparisons of the disease across countries. Quite an outdated chart, but relevant in proportions, here’s a “Comparison of diabetes management in five countries for general and indigenous populations: an internet-based review”:

Table 1 from https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6963-10-169/tables/1

And the Canadian Institute for Health Information did an “International Comparisons: A Focus on Diabetes,” but it has a lot on treatment and prevention policies of Type II Diabetes, and not a lot on Access to Care:

From report https://secure.cihi.ca/free_products/oecd-diabetes-report-2015_en.pdf

But, actually, wait times of greater than 4 weeks seems to be a problem, no matter the system, as highlighted in “Debunking Republican Healthcare Myths: Wait Times & Rationing”:

Chart from askepticalhuman.com/politics/2018/9/10/debunking-right-wing-healthcare-myths-wait-times-rationing

It’s not just the wait — costs count up

What was more surprising to me is the amount of folks in all forms of healthcare plans who were skipping medical appointment because of costs, as noted in the article “When Cutting Access to Health Care, There’s a Price to Pay”:

Infographic from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/27/business/economy/health-care-senate-mortality.html

More consumer case studies

What would be really great is some case studies of lower-middle class individuals who have Type II Diabetes and what is it like navigating their healthcare system. Are they getting seen? Are they getting their medications? Are they getting better? Are they improving the quality of their lives? What happens when there’s a medical or financial setback? Are they happy with their healthcare? Do they think someone from the US would be happy with their system?




...a queer man, Captain Ahab- so some think- but a good one. Oh, thou'lt like him well enough; no fear, no fear. He's a grand, ungodly, god-like man...