Can’t Go Home: Americans In Canada Share Health Care Stories

I watched the videos that Tim posted (thank you, Tim, and thank you Euro2011Man who put the videos on YouTube). On the side, I noticed and watched the video that I am posting here. I so wonder how these women are facing their challenges with the US IRS, FBARs, FATCA. Did they know anything about all this when this video was made?

Once again, I thank all that is holy that my path took me to Canada. I do know, and this video brings it home, that if I had gone back to the US after my divorce in 1984, raising on my own one child with various expensive health problems and his sister, my story would be much different. With my son’s developmental disability, severe asthma and hereditary hemochromatosis and my own Crohn’s Disease, I am absolutely sure that I would have had to turn to social assistance to survive in the US — what are they but pre-existing conditions that would stigmatize and break us in the US. We have had nothing but the best medical care in Calgary, Alberta. It has not been a worry — the differences in how the two countries take care of its people is vast, a whole different mindset.

Instead, we are in Canada and I am thankful every day for that and will never take it for granted. I put in many long hours as an administrative assistant; I worked, scrimped and saved, paid taxes, was able to buy a house where my kids were raised and had a course of action for peace of mind that my son would, seamlessly, be looked after when I was gone. With the help of the Canadian Government and their innovative Registered Disability Savings Plan that my son, I slept well at night not worrying about my son’s future — I had it all figured out until I came to the realization of what is happening now. So, a glitch in the road.

I’ve survived many challenges and I will survive this — and I won’t leave this continuing administrative nightmare to the children I one day leave behind me. Thank you, Minister Flaherty and Canada, for taking the stand you have for protection of the rights of the persons from the US who chose Canada as their new home, as well as the “accidental Americans” who also make Canada their home.

I just told ‘outragec’ offline that I had always wanted to someday have a cleaning lady (person) seeing as it’s spring cleaning time. I should have used some of that savings for my wish — it would have been a drop in the bucket for what is now being spent to leave the US completely behind. Outragec’s reply — “oh, right I got confused! getting free of the US holds a much better return on your investment than a cleaning lady :)…..”

It is always good to take a moment to count our blessings, and I have many here in Canada (including the support and education I’ve gotten at the Isaac Brock site). So, I have just paused to do so.

I did benefit from the US economy and my parents paid taxes, served in the military, etc. during those years. I paid US taxes in my early working years there; my then-husband served four years in the Marines. It was my (our) right to choose where to live and that choice was Canada since 1969 — and I have no problem with the taxes I’ve paid here since then. Here, among other things, health care is a cherished right.


13 thoughts on “Can’t Go Home: Americans In Canada Share Health Care Stories

  1. With the US Supreme Court debating the constitutionality of Obamacare as we speak, what we receive here in Canada is nothing short of a blessing and the envy of many Americans I feel sure (although few would admit it). Here is a link to a Harvard study that compares Canada’s health care against the US’s. Many in the US would be surprised. It’s a few years old, but if anything, the US has degenerated and Canada hopefully is adequately addressing wait times.

  2. You hear people bad mouth Canada’s healthcare system and wait times.

    A few years ago I needed major surgery and could’ve waited up to a year to get it but they booked me for it within a month. I was amazed at the speed and quality of care I received.

    I think the level of care you get also depends on who you have for a family doctor. I switched doctors about 5 years ago after going to the old one for 20 years and noticed an incredible improvement.

  3. When we came to Canada some 27 yrs. ago it wasn’t because we were evading or avoiding taxes but because of a broken U.S. health care system that we could no longer deal with. Not even Obama Care will do much of anything to change health care in America because the health insurance companies are still at the center of the health care industry. All that Obama Care does is to siphon guaranteed stream of taxpayer money to the health insurers in exchange for the industry covering more people.
    In the end the insurers win because they get a larger pool of clients with a steady and predictable stream of government subsidized premiums. In the insurance industry having a steady stream of premiums coming in makes a big difference when determining your investment strategies and your future dividend payouts.

  4. @omghesstillanamerican- the U.S. also has a lengthy wait list. The insured often have to wait to receive a procedure because there is a shortage of specialist in quite a few disciplines. Also the biggest wait list in America is composed of the UNINSURED. 47mil. people are a big wait list and there is no getting off of this waiting list because the product that you need, insurance, is the very product that you cannot buy due to the expense or because the industry won’t sell it to you.

  5. I am a physician and as far as I can tell Canada has the best health care system in the world and Canadians should be very proud of it. I did not say “perfect”. The US has the worse. It became in American big business at the expenses of doctors and patients. And more than 45,000,000 Americans do not have health care. I believe the US is now the only Country inthe world that doesn´t accept that health care is a right.

  6. We have the same problem. We cannot go back because my wife has an auto-immune illness. We cannot go back because there are few if any jobs in my field. We cannot stay because we would not have any retirement savings (solely due to US taxation).

    We can renounce. I suppose that’s what I will have to do, but that closes the door forever and I really miss my parents.

  7. @markpinetree

    I also work in health care and I am proud of our health care system as both a consumer and health care provider. Yes, the Canadian health care system does have considerable room for improvement but, for many reasons, I would take it to the American health care system any day.

    @ recalcitrantexpat/@omghesstillanamerican- the U.S. also has a lengthy wait list.

    According to the author of this CNN article long wait times are not just for specialists. He believes that one of the biggest threats to US health is the primary care deficit. He reports that more than 50% of US primary care docs are not accepting new patients and the average wait time for an appointment is one month.

  8. @zuludogm,

    Your cost / benefit analysis indicates to me that you and your wife are in the right country where your health care is a right.

    If you renounce, you SHOULD have every right to cross the border to visit your parents as any other Canadian citizen does — with your Canadian passport and your valuable Certificate of Loss of Nationality.

    In my mind, with dual citizenship, I am (as well as my family) a “second-class Canadian”.

  9. The American health care system is rationed in a different way than waiting lists – you “exclude” 45 million people out of the system for the benefit for the remaining ones “covered” by health insurance. – yea first and second class citizens from a health care point of view.

    The dirty little truth America is most are “opposed” to Obamacare because they’re more worried how it’s going to impact on their own person health care – it’s the I’m OK Jack mentality.

    See this link for Ronald Reagan’s “socialised medicine” speech that was commonly circulated on LPs around 1960s America which can partially help explain today’s mindset –

    Today in 2012 it’s basically a war between the haves and the have nots – the “insured” don’t want to make any room at the table for the “uninsured” without any compromise because the “insured” are scared to dealth because they have nothing to fall back on.

  10. About 7 or 8 years ago my husband and I got back from Vegas to minus 40 weather. Jokingly, he suggested we move to there, or Florida. I think he was surprised by the seriousness of my response, ‘I would never live somewhere that doesn’t care enough about it’s citizens to ensure they have basic health care.’ No, our system in Canada is not perfect, but we have it, and we are also striving to improve it. I think that says a lot.

  11. What *SHOULD* be embarrasing for the US is that these people cannot live in the USA long-term because the USA cannot provide the same level of care as their frozen neighbor to the North or most Europe, and even some cases in South America.

    In this respect, any US person should be ashamed.

  12. @John

    Great artifact from America’s “good old days” – not. The whole country started seriously going down the tubes during the Reagan years, though it’s been an awesome ride for the 1%, hasn’t it?

  13. @ Deckard
    Unfortunately, there are many who think he was the best thing since sliced bread.
    Last year one of my sisters in the States told me on the phone she had made the decision to go into the hospital to have knee replacement surgery. (she would be on medicare as a Senior). Forgetting I was speaking to an American and not a Canadian, I asked her how long she would have to wait for the surgery. A ‘joke’ was made about this is the U.S., not Canada – I can have it done next week. I kept my mouth shut but I thought of the many, many people in the U.S. who could be in terrible pain and in need of knee/hip replacement but are not insured and thus must endure the pain.

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