Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Myth of Equitable Health Care

Who says we don't have a two-tier health care system in Canada? Say you're a chap with prostate cancer, and you want to avail yourself of a cutting edge treatment. You'll have to dig deep in your pocket and cough up a ton of cash. One of the doctors who set up this specialized clinic explains the pricey (and uninsurable)procedure (my bolds):
...“Instead of cutting out the prostate, or destroying it with radiation, we kill the tissue by cooking it with ultrasound,” said Jack Barkin, a urologist and partner at Can-Am HIFU. (The ultrasound is similar to the one used to break up kidney stones.) “HIFU has the same cure rate as other procedures but without the side effects,” he said. “And the great thing is that patients walk in and literally walk out a few hours later.”
Dr. Barkin stressed, however, that HIFU is not for every man with prostate cancer.
It is best for those whose cancer is located strictly in the prostate gland, whose prostate has swollen to the 35- to 50-gram range and who have a low to moderate Gleason score (a scale used to judge severity).

And, currently, it’s only for men who can afford it. The procedure costs about $22,000, which must be paid out-of-pocket because HIFU is not covered by any provincial insurance plan in Canada.
Well, at least if Danny Williams, premier of Newfoundland-Labrador, gets localized prostate cancer he won't have to run off to the U.S. for treatment.

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