Canadian Health Care Horror Story

Disclaimer: A big reason I travel is to see the world for what it is and not rely on a secondary source such as the media to tell me how it is through their often biased and agenda-based reporting. While I have my own political opinions, I will try to present this in as much as an informational manner as possible. Take it for what it is and this is what I personally experienced.

On one of my trips to Thunder Bay, I decided to go a bit further north and explore. I decided to go to Nipigon as it’s about as far north as you can get on Lake Superior. There must have been some sort of accident, as traffic on Highway 11 was backed up pretty bad. I rerouted my GPS to take an alternative route. Highway 11 is mainly a 2 lane highway that is part of the Trans-Canada Highway system. The Trans-Canada Highway is the main road that goes all the way from east to west and is considered Canada’s “Route 66.”

With the main highway being only 2 lanes for the most part, any other roads can get very desolate fast. The roads I took, took me through some very desolate areas. I was getting a bit hungry and finally came upon a small gas station in the middle of nowhere. I stopped to grab something to eat. One thing I’ve found in my travels is that Canadians are insanely friendly and you can have very deep thought-provoking conversations with them.

I am always looking to try new things so I found something unique I hadn’t seen before. As I was checking out, I struck up a conversation with the cashier. Shortly after, what appeared to be the owner walked in and also started talking with us. Since this is the middle of nowhere, there really weren’t any customers so it seemed like they enjoyed some company.

I started talking with the owner a bit more and we talked about various topics and differences between Canada and the US. We eventually got on the topic of health care. Now in the US, we tend to hear a lot of things about Canadian health care and a lot of it is outright misinformation bordering on propaganda. Remember, agendas are at stake. It is refreshing to hear about it from people who actually are using Canadian health care to find out how it really is.

Well the owner said to me, “I bet you have heard a lot of Canadian health care horror stories. Well, I have one for you.” He then pointed over to the cashier and said the cashier’s buddy recently had some medical emergency that they needed to rush him to the hospital. They found out they couldn’t do the procedure in Thunder Bay so they medevac’d him to Winnipeg.

They did the procedure and the guy’s buddy recovered fine. When it was time to go home, they gave him a plane ticket back to Thunder Bay as it’s 8 hours by car. Well here’s the horror story part of the story: When they rushed the guy out in the ambulance, he was in his bathrobe. They forgot to bring his wallet so when it was time to board the plane, he had difficulties. Additionally while he was waiting, “He didn’t even have enough money to buy a cup of coffee.”

I then asked how much it cost him out of pocket. I was given a funny look and then told nothing. It was all covered by their taxes. From an American perspective it is pretty crazy how someone can go through that ordeal and have no out of pocket expenses, even with the best of insurance. The biggest issue that they had was the fact the guy did not have his wallet and had a few troubles boarding a plane. Also, he couldn’t get a cup of coffee while he waited for everything to get sorted out.

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