I have both US and Canadian coverage, and have worked in patrol rooms in both countries. Neither is perfect, but it sure is simpler in Canada. A skier comes in and they get treated. In the US, a skier comes in, and while the patrol service is free, the doctor who can give pain killers, set broken bones etc, is only for the insured.
I had a patient with a ruptured spleen, blood pressure way low and dropping, going into shock, who couldn't afford an ambulance ride. He thought he could get a friend to take him down and avoid the bill.
Meanwhile in Canada I had an American friend who needed complicated heart valve replacement surgery. He was between jobs and neither his old or new insurer would cover it. His mother was Canadian, and he qualified to come up to Canada for the procedure He could still walk and breathe, so it was considered non-emergency.
He only had to wait for a specialist from Calgary to get back from a conference in Europe. The guy fixed the valve without replacement, and he was back on skis that winter.
If I had to choose one system to be under, I'd take the Canadian in a second.
Edited by newfydog - 1/31/11 at 4:00pm