A Canadian Shops for Penile Implant Surgery in the U.S.

November 23, 2015

A patient called from Edmonton, a city in Alberta, a province in western Canada. The patient wanted a penile implant surgery package for which he was willing to pay cash out of his own pocket. This may seem odd given that Canada has a system of free healthcare. But how free is it? And how much care does it deliver?

Not free and not enough, according to Kelly Meloche, who runs International Healthcare Providers, a service based in Windsor, Ontario that helps men and women in Canada get healthcare services, including surgery, in the United States. In an impassioned article published two days ago, Kelly welcomes the reader "to the stagnation of the Canadian Healthcare system" and asks to go beyond the statistics. She argues that while Canadians rightfully take pride in the potential of their system and history of compassionate care, it has long since stopped offering enough care of enough types to enough Canadians. She cites vision correction and dentistry as services that are uniformly not covered. She cites unbearably long waiting times for appointments.

Americans tend to think of their healthcare system as more efficient and accessible than that of Canadians. This may generally be true, but the two systems do share some similarities. For example, American health insurance does not usually cover vision correction or dentistry. Moreover, it often also does not cover certain kinds of major surgery. For example, many health plans do not cover weight loss surgery. They also do not always cover penile implant surgery, which is what the man from Edmonton wanted when he called to ask about penile implant surgery costs. And with cost rising and choices shrinking, it takes a longer time to get appointments in the United States, too. These are the macro phenomena driving the consumerism push for more transparency of quality and cost.

As American and Canadian healthcare systems evolve, we would do well to learn from each other and always remember that we have much more in common than we have differences.

Americans, like Canadians, deserve quality, convenience, and choice.

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