Thursday, March 3, 2011

Here Comes the Bogeyman - Canadian Healthcare

We’d been travelling for a few weeks. My plan had been to blog on my trip, but lo and behold, my laptop crashed and thus, I am first able now at home to tell you about my travels. I could talk about the sad state of customer service in American corporations, but that’s not what I want to discuss.

I want to talk about one of the great things about traveling - the chance meetings with people from other countries. On this last trip, we met people from Manitoba, Canada. The discussion inevitably got around to health care. When I told them about how our private insurance and co-pays work, the reaction was, “That would really cut down on my 92 year old aunt’s doctor visits if she had to pay for them. Now she goes to the doctor just to socialize. If she had to pay, she'd go a lot less.”

I asked them if health care for older adults was being rationed. “I could go to the doctor 10 times a week if I felt like it. How fast you get specialists depends mostly on how diligent your primary care doctor is in doing the paperwork.”

That sounds a lot like HMO’s to me except that doctors instead of insurance agents make the decisions.

Last year we met a couple in their ‘80’s from Ontario. He had just had two knee replacements and she had recently had a hip replacement. “Do you have difficulty waiting for surgery as a senior citizen? Is elective surgery rationed?” I asked.

“No, we just showed them our health care cards and walked right into the hospital,” she answered.

In the debate over health care which was often characterized by lies and half-truths at best, the specter of horrible Canadian health care was often flashed before our eyes as a horror. Canadian healthcare. We should be so lucky.

In honor of these discussions, I thought I’d share some Canadian recipes. There weren’t any that I could think of so I was going to say, "Go enjoy some Canadian fast food." That seemed too easy, however. Instead I looked up some Canadian recipes and here’s one of their easy ones (prep time 10 minutes) for broiled salmon. It’s even healthy. If we eat like this, maybe we can all avoid some doctor appointments in the first place.

                                                Canadian Broiled Salmon

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets
Lemon pepper to taste
Garlic powder
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
¼ cup vegetable oil

  1. Season salmon with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved. Place the fish in a large re-sealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture and turn to coat. Refrigerate for two hours.
  3. Broil salmon 6 to 8 minutes on each side.

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