I live in Canada. As a matter of fact, I lived in Florida until 05, when I became sicker than I was able to afford, and although I had an excellent doctor (GP) there, whom I miss like all get out, as well as the sunshine and the sand, I had to move back (Born Canadian, Landed Immigrant - US), to Canada because as my health deteriorated, I couldn't work enough to pay for my medical. So here I am in the frozen North, where I can get into my GP within 48 hours, usually. We do have a serious shortage of specialists, so one can wait 18 months for a Mental Health Consult, apparently less for a Rheumy as I discovered, as I moved house, I missed notification of my appointment which was within 6 weeks of the referral, my GP was PO'd at me. However, the lack of specialists is due to Medicare's low remuneration rates. The specialists train here and then move to US where they can make a lot of money. Any remaining specialists are either sub par, or may have other reasons (like family) for remaining. However, the GP's extend themselves beyond what they would do in the US. For example when I requested a Pain Mngt. Specialist, my GP said "they can't do more than I am doing for you", and as time went by, and I read some horror stories about
specialists on this forum, I realized, he's right. I will do my best to work with him and my pdoc whom I see every 3 months, who originally I thought was a quack but now feel he's bang on, just that he said some things I didn't want to hear. So, really, although in some cases, especially in rural areas, the doctors can be down right dangerous, as I discovered when a doc prescribed a heavy duty amphetamine to me referring to it as a "muscle relaxer", and it made me very ill, there for two weeks. I drive to the city to see a GP. 60 miles. Have to. Next time I have to go to emerg. I will go to one in a metropolitan area. All, in all, I could not survive, in my present physical condition within the US medical system. I remember having a fever of 104, had been 105 one time, was referred to an internist and was stopped at the reception desk to pay cash, as you say 150.00, before I even had my temperature taken. This would not happen in Canada. I learned a little secret (for those Canadians on site,) as Docs are basically Civil Servants, paid by the Gov't. and having to operate within the political climate, they tend to be extra grumpy on Mondays, Tuesdays, and sometimes Wednesdays. However, go on a Friday, in the AM, your doc will be an entirely different person. I try to engineer things this way, however, sometimes ya gotta go, when ya gotta go. I always come out feeling like a great imposition on him, when I go early in the week. Thursday and Friday, I always come out feeling like we've collaborated and made progress.