You're right, it's actually ten weeks to get an MRI. http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2007/10/15/waittimes-fraser.html
I've never had an issue getting the procedures I needed done when I needed them. It also to my best knowledge (as I am not a medical professional and cannot speak with absolute certainty, only my personal experience) that such cases are taken by priority... For some things, yes, appointments can take months -- my son's speech therapy, for instance. We've been on the waiting list since November, and his first appointment is in two weeks -- but he's not as severely affected as some kids, and has been lucky enough to become involved in programs that aid in developing his speech. On the other, faster side of things... Requiem, my husband, was hospitalized up here in Canada with health problems for nearly two weeks almost three years ago. He had a multitude of ultrasounds, radiology and MRI scans done within days
of his being admitted, and had a cardiologist at his bedside the following day to explain the results.
Health care is harder to get in Canada.
I'd argue that's because everyone has free basic coverage, and it's more about preventative medicine than reactive medicine. I lived two years in the United States, and almost all of my friends would have needed to be on their death beds to go to the hospital, because they either didn't have coverage through their works or couldn't afford their premiums to increase. One of them was born with CP, and was insured out the ass as a disabled person, but she still pressed her coverage as little as possible.
Up here as a Canadian citizen, if you're feeling crappy, you can go to the doctor without worrying about how you're going to feed your family for the next week, and a stay in the hospital generally doesn't automatically lead to stress over how much out of pocket this is going to cost you, or how it impacts your credit rating when you can't pay. This logically leads to more people going to the doctor when they feel they have to, instead of just sucking it up and hoping whatever they have won't kill them.
Your last point is inaccurate. Forty-five million Americans donít lack health care, they lack insurance. If they want health care, all they need to do is pay.
I use the terms "health care" and "health insurance" interchangeably; perhaps that's inaccurate of me, but it's the habit I've fallen into, since I've mostly just dropped the "plan" off "health care" in speech.
I think what I'm trying to get at in a very roundabout sort of way is that you really can't define a health care system by the dry facts and sometimes biased reporting that's done on the issue. It's not a perfect system, and I've never claimed it was. But I see the argument that "wait times will increase" and "why should I have to pay for Joe Blow's gallstone surgery" from people who oftentimes don't have the slightest clue what they're talking about. They parrot articles they've read and speeches they've heard, often enough from people who represent companies whose sole purpose that I can discern seems to be draining every drop of cash they can from your pocket and trying to find ways to weasel out of the agreement they made with you at the initiation of your plan's coverage.
One final fact: when my stepdaughter was born in the States, her mother racked up well over ten grand in hospital bills which her insurance, fortunately, covered. When my first son was born, I was in the hospital for nearly a week, and would have, had I lived in the States or wasn't a Canadian citizen, owed nearly fifteen thousand in bills for bedspace, medications, meals and medical supplies. Perhaps the argument can be made that you shouldn't have a child if you can't afford health care coverage for them, but I think a stronger argument should be: why shouldn't
you be afforded free, basic coverage so no one, no matter how well-off they are, has to deal with thousands of dollars of extra debt when they're starting or adding to their family?
Edit: Rereading this post, I stated something inaccurately. You do not have to be a citizen of Canada to qualify for provincial health insurance. You just have to be a legal resident, either through immigration, citizenship or permanent residency.