Timely Medical Alternatives is a company set up to expedite the treatment of patients on wait lists in Canada’s health care system. By helping Canadians access private medical care in the United States or Quebec (where the government monopoly on health insurance was found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court), Timely Medical Alternatives can provide their clients “with options, referrals to hospitals, clinics and diagnostic imaging facilities.”

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Why would Canadians, with universal health insurance, need to visit a service such as this? Just look at some of the differences between the wait lists in public versus private systems.

Typical Wait Times (after initial visit to a G.P.)
  1. Wait to see a specialist for initial consultation
    • Public: 6 - 12 months
    • Private: 10 days
  2. Wait for diagnostic imaging (excluding X-Rays) after seeing surgeon
    • Public: 4 - 8 months
    • Private: 24 hours
  3. Wait for a biopsy (if necessary)
    • Public: 2 months
    • Private: 4 days
  4. Wait for pathological analysis of tissue
    • Public: 14 days
    • Private: 1 - 3 days
  5. Wait for follow-up visit to surgeon to discuss results of diagnostics
    • Public: 1 - 3 months
    • Private: 7 days
  6. Wait for a surgical/hospital date to be set
    • Public: 6 - 18 months
    • Private: 1 day
  7. Wait for surgery after date is set
    • Public: 6 - 10 months
    • Private: 7 days

More evidence that universal coverage does not mean the end of rationing, nor does it lead to a system of greater choice — despite the claims of some Michigan legislators.