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Opinion

No payment for pain

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One of the things I’ve noticed as I spend more time in the U.S. and speaking with Americans is the subtle way their healthcare system encourages them to “just deal with it.” Canada’s system is far from perfect (see: the fact that we have to pay anything at all for essential prescriptions), but if I tripped and hurt my back, felt random chest pain, or was sick with anxiety, the fact that I can make that initial trip to the doctor’s office to say “Hey, should I be worried about this?” without paying means I can’t write off my concerns as easily. I know nobody likes going to the doctor, but if that visit comes with a not-insignificant fee, it’s so much easier to say “Ehh, it’s not worth the trouble, I’ll be fine.” By having no fee at all, at the very least for that initial visit, it incentivizes us to be a little more cautious, to get problems checked out before they become serious. The less barriers there are to treatment, the healthier society becomes.

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