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Question for Canadians & UK

roseannadanaroseannadana Posts: 5,632Registered Users
Tell me about your healthcare access. Do you have annual exams? Dental or vision coverage? Do you pay co-pays? What about prescriptions? Are they expensive? Bottom line: are you happy with what you are provided by your "socialist" system? :)

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  • rouquinnerouquinne Posts: 13,499Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    the plan in Ontario does not provide dental, vision or prescription coverage; those are available through employer or self-funded plans.

    it's a LONG time since i had a self-funded plan (over 20 years) so i don't remember what my premiums were, but i'm pretty sure they weren't that expensive because i could manage them on a temp secretary salary along with paying my rent and all the singing lessons i was taking at the time.

    my supplemental coverage through work covers 90% of prescriptions, dental, vision, massage therapy, chiropractic, semi-private hospital rooms and a whole host of other things.

    prescription drugs are cheaper here, a lot of people come from your country to buy them - i don't know why this is.

    my step-father is in a nursing home, a VERY nice one, and he has been there for almost 5 years. his care does not cost my mother anything due to complete coverage from our universal coverage, mom's retiree coverage, his retiree coverage and his coverage as a WWII veteran.

    when my father died 11 years ago after a debilitating 9-month fight with cancer, it cost my sister and i NOTHING for his care. when he died, we got money back from the province of Quebec because dad's partial pension paid for a luxurious private hospice room and it was paid on the first of the month. we were reimbursed for the remainder of the month.

    in the past 20 years, i have had 3 surgeries for my pcos. i had serious complications with the 2nd one and unexpectedly had to stay for several days. each time i walked in and walked out without handing over a dime.

    our tax rate would probably make you cringe; but it's worth it to me for the above.
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  • AmnerisAmneris Posts: 15,117Registered Users
    Tell me about your healthcare access. Do you have annual exams? Dental or vision coverage? Do you pay co-pays? What about prescriptions? Are they expensive? Bottom line: are you happy with what you are provided by your "socialist" system? :)

    In Canada, it's up to you if you have an annual exam. If you have a family doctor, you can talk to them about getting whatever you want. The problem in some remote/northern regions is that there aren't enough family doctors, so to get an annual exam, the government might send out nurses or a travelling doctor or whatever. But anything you get from a family doctor is covered. And they can refer you to a specialist or the hospital and that is also covered.

    Dental and vision are generally not covered by healthcare. Health care pays for anything done in a doctor's office or a hospital (except elective cosmetic surgery and the like.) Many workplaces offer dental and vision - they will take a small amount off your cheque every month for it. If you are on social assistance or disability the government will pay for them. You can also take out a plan privately. All university students have a mandatory plan as part of tuition. Usually the plans also cover ambulance rides, private rooms in the hospital, chiropractic care, etc. Some cover counselling and travel insurance.

    Co-pays: do you mean an insurance deductible or a portion that is not covered by insurance? This varies and depends on the plan. My daddy had to pay only $2 a month and nothing extra for his dental and vision. Other plans are less generous.

    As to prescriptions, they are not initially covered for most people but a portion can be claimed on taxes. Each province (like a state) has its own plan, but usually, for people on assistance and seniors, they are covered, and for others with conditions that necessitate expensive drugs, a proportion is covered.

    Yes, I am very happy with our health care. It doesn't matter how broke I am, whether I am unemployed or not; I am guaranteed to be seen by any doctor and I do not have to spend a penny for my pre-natal and delivery costs, for any surgery or cancer treatment or broken bones or anything else I might need. It would be nice if dental and vision were covered, but basically it is only the working poor who might have a crappy plan at work or no plan who are really affected, and a lot of dentists will have free clinics at certain times in the year for those people. (Every child also gets a free dental visit before age 3, and dentists go out to day cares and schools in inner city areas and so on and do free clinics.)
    Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali


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  • CurlyCanadianCurlyCanadian Posts: 10,780Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    For a single person, I think it's $13/month I pay for benefits through work? Whatever it is, it's almost nothing...I certainly don't notice it.

    That covers 80% dental & eye glasses, a certain amount of massages a year and a bunch of other stuff I've never looked into.


    My Dad had a kidney transplant 5 years ago and it cost him absolutely nothing, other then parking at the hospital. He was in for 2 weeks, got an infection and went back for another week. Not sure about the hospital parking during the surgery, but he was able to claim the parking during dialysis on his taxes.

    He has really good coverage through work for medication. His is about $1500/month in stuff he'll be on for the rest of his life and pays under $20 for dispensing. If you shop around to different pharmacies, you can sometimes get better deals on dispensing.

    When he was having the transplant, we met an American couple at the hospital. He was having some sort of heart surgery and including accommodations and the wife being out of work for a few weeks, it was still cheaper to have it done here, rather then in the States.


    As good as our system is, it still leaves a lot to be desired when looking at many European countries.
    I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
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  • CurlyCanadianCurlyCanadian Posts: 10,780Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Amneris wrote: »
    a lot of dentists will have free clinics at certain times in the year for those people. (Every child also gets a free dental visit before age 3, and dentists go out to day cares and schools in inner city areas and so on and do free clinics.)

    When I was working on the ship, I had no dental while on land. I needed my wisdom teeth out and my dentist knew I was paying out of pocket.

    He did a cleaning, x-rays and pre-surgery checkup, all 4 wisdom teeth out and a follow up visit for $400.
    I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
    Audrey Hepburn
  • mrspoppersmrspoppers Posts: 7,223Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    What I have always heard from my Canadian and British cousins is that they have to wait long periods of times for doctor appointments and procedures that are not deemed emergencies. One cousin in England had to wait for months to get gall bladder surgery and it was rescheduled twice at the last minute because an emergency bumped it. Here, that wouldn't happen.

    Do you find this to be a reality or it exaggerated or rare? I've always wondered if it's my mom's interpretation of what happened.
    When are women going to face the fact that they don’t know their own bodies as well as men who have heard things?

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  • CurlyCanadianCurlyCanadian Posts: 10,780Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I've heard that as well, but never really experienced it. My grandmother had heart surgery in the spring and while it did get bumped once, it wasn't very long.

    2 friends mothers have been recently diagnosed with cancer and treatment started right away.
    I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
    Audrey Hepburn
  • rouquinnerouquinne Posts: 13,499Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    i can get in to my family doctor the same day if necessary and they will send someone to my house after hours - at no extra charge - if required.

    i've never had a surgery date moved...
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  • NejNej Posts: 2,444Registered Users
    I find it to be exaggerated. And you can always pay to get seen privately right away.

    Both my dad and I have had major surgeries and I was in hospital for a month in a private room and paid nothing.



    I only pay for medication and there is a company that pays for it for me :) I have never had any problem. I am seen right away, including being rushed straight into emergency. Here it's all about triage.

    I wouldn't have it any other way but I have also been blessed with Lots of Health issues and wouldn't ever want to worry about it
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  • AmnerisAmneris Posts: 15,117Registered Users
    mrspoppers wrote: »
    What I have always heard from my Canadian and British cousins is that they have to wait long periods of times for doctor appointments and procedures that are not deemed emergencies. One cousin in England had to wait for months to get gall bladder surgery and it was rescheduled twice at the last minute because an emergency bumped it. Here, that wouldn't happen.

    Do you find this to be a reality or it exaggerated or rare? I've always wondered if it's my mom's interpretation of what happened.

    I find the harping on wait times to be exaggerated for sure, but to be fair, I haven't ever experienced it. I think it's a classic right-wing argument used against universal health care, because that and high tax rates are really the only possible complaints. It is true that if there is a shortage of beds or doctors, which can happen at certain times and places, that elective or non-urgent surgeries may be bumped in favour of emergencies. I'm not sure how often this happens, but certainly not all the time - when it happens, you'll often hear complaints in the media and the like. It would be extremely rare that someone would die or be in extreme suffering because of this practice and no emergency is left untended. I think that the occassional wait and some discomfort is a fair trade-off for a universal system. There are some who will choose to spend their own money to go to the States for treatment instead, and they have that choice.
    Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali


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  • rouquinnerouquinne Posts: 13,499Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    the other thing about our system is that we are free to see ANY doctor in the entire province - we are not restricted as i hear Americans are when it comes to only seeing doctors with your particular health care provider.

    when i lived in Ottawa, for the first few years i went back to my endocrinologist in Toronto.

    we only have limited coverage when we're outside the country, though my supplemental at work provides more if i'm travelling on business and purchasing travel insurance isn't crazy expensive.
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  • CurlyCanadianCurlyCanadian Posts: 10,780Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    When my parents travelled in the States, OHIP picked up the dialysis tab.
    I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
    Audrey Hepburn
  • mad scientistmad scientist Posts: 3,530Registered Users
    I use the health care system quite a bit. I would say that wait times can be quite long in certain cases. I'd say it takes 3 months on average to see a specialist.

    But its important to note that in the mean time you are managed by your family doctor who plays a much more important role in our system. My daughter has chronic health issues and has seen probably every pediatric specialty out there but our family doctor fundamentally manages all her issues under the guidance of the specialists that we see only occasionally.

    My husband is a general surgeon and if you are referred to him with a hernia it will be 2 months before you see him in the office and 5 months before you have your operation. If are referred to him with a cancer you will be operated on within a week. Resources have to be rationed in a publicly funded system. You won't die waiting for your hernia repair but you aren't going to be comfortable either.

    The flip side here is that because doctors are busy here they don't look at patients as $$. I find surgeons here are less aggressive and more willing to work with you to find a non-surgical solution which I appreciate.

    In any case, I am very happy with our system. I can't even imagine how much money would have been spent and will be spent on my daughter in her lifetime. I'm grateful that money never even enters the equation. That said our system isn't perfect. I would like to a regulated private component to our system because it could ease wait times in certain areas.
  • mad scientistmad scientist Posts: 3,530Registered Users
    Let me add some more details about healthcare specifically in BC: monthly premiums are $120 for a family if 3 or more. I had to look that up because I've never paid it. If you are a salaried employee then it's very likely that your premiums are covered by your employer. If you have a low income, your premiums are lower and possibly nothing.

    Employee benefits also typically cover supplemental health care costs. I pay $25 per year copay and all my family rx are covered. Same with dental care and vision care and physio and massage therapy and speech therapy...

    The province covers prescription costs over $3000/yr for everyone. That number is lower for seniors and low income individuals. Rx costs are cheaper here because the government buys drugs "in bulk" from manufacturers and negotiates low prices.
  • damsel_flydamsel_fly Posts: 457Registered Users
    In Canada, there is a Health Care Act, but the delivery of health care is a provincial responsibility.

    I'm in Manitoba and am covered by Manitoba Health and have a work plan through Blue Cross. As a single person, I think I pay about $20/month for Blue Cross.

    Fortunately, "hallway medicine" seems to be over. A lack of hospital rooms meant some people were stuck on stretchers in the hallways. Also, there were nursing and doctor shortages for several years.

    At one time, it was hard to find a family doctor. There is now a phone number you call to find out which doctors are accepting new patients.

    There are many walk-in clinics. Some have wait times of 2 - 3 hours. The visits are covered by Manitoba Health.

    Doctors' appointments are covered. I can usually get in to see my doctor within a week. A local hospital handles "urgent care" issues to divert people with minor emergencies from going to the emergency rooms.

    On the weekends, certain ER's are often clogged with the people who have been drinking and fighting. :-(

    Through Blue Cross:
    $250 for glasses every 2 years
    $60 for eye exams every 2 years
    dental cleanings every 6 months
    certain dental procedures
    80% coverage of:
    medications approved by MB Health
    therapeutic massages (prescribed by doctor)
    11 chiropractor visits
    physiotherapy
    and some other stuff that I can't remember.

    Blue Cross also pays for a private room although I think most of our hospital rooms are semi-private (2 people per room).

    My mammoplasty reduction surgery was covered by MB Health.

    I have heard of people being sent to Ontario or the Mayo Clinic to get treatment. Bariatric patients have to go out of province to get weight-loss surgery and there is a long waiting list to get the surgery covered.

    Overall, I'm happy with our health care. My prescriptions end up costing me about $16/month total for 3 different drugs. Our health care is not perfect, but it does give basic care to everyone. Like anywhere else, the rich and high-level politicians have access to better care.

    Canada differs from the UK which has a national system.
    Canada's national health insurance program, often referred to as "Medicare", is designed to ensure that all residents have reasonable access to medically necessary hospital and physician services, on a prepaid basis. Instead of having a single national plan, we have a national program that is composed of 13 interlocking provincial and territorial health insurance plans, all of which share certain common features and basic standards of coverage. Framed by the Canada Health Act, the principles governing our health care system are symbols of the underlying Canadian values of equity and solidarity.
    Canada's Health Care System (Medicare) - Health Canada
  • OBBOBB Posts: 4,174Registered Users
    question for Canadians. can you keep a moose as a pet?
  • rouquinnerouquinne Posts: 13,499Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    :laughing3:

    seriously, moose only live in certain areas of the country - usually much further north than our populated areas. they are wanderers and you'd need a backyard of several thousand hectares with a swampy lake in order to maintain a proper habitat.

    they aren't a protected species - moose hunting season opens soon - though you are limited in the number you can acquire.
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  • juanabjuanab Posts: 4,037Registered Users
    The first only time I saw a moose was when I was on my way back from Park City, Utah to Salt Lake City. Interesting looking creatures. I never saw one on any of my several trips to Toronto. But since it is the city, I would be surprised if I had.

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  • KookyCurlKookyCurl Posts: 1,980Registered Users
    rouquinne wrote: »
    :laughing3:

    seriously, moose only live in certain areas of the country - usually much further north than our populated areas. they are wanderers and you'd need a backyard of several thousand hectares with a swampy lake in order to maintain a proper habitat.

    they aren't a protected species - moose hunting season opens soon - though you are limited in the number you can acquire.

    We have some moose that live in my hometown at the Wildlife Park. It's a place for rehabilitating animals as well as some who live there because they can't be released, all are generally native species. The rest are there for educational purposes. There's also a fish hatchery. They have a large area for the moose, but not that big! Plus, moose seem to like swimming pools too.
  • PigletPiglet Posts: 1,451Registered Users
    I live in England. We have to pay £7.65 for prescriptions, unless you fall into certain categories like being a student, on benefits, a child etc. Pregnant women are exempt from the charge, as are those with certain conditions, such as cancer, renal failure, diabetes etc. Contraceptives are free. People in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales get free prescriptions.

    We don't have annual examinations. If you're over a certain age, you get a mammogram every so often. You can book yourself an appointment to see your GP if you want a check up. At some point in your 20s (age 25?) you start going every three years for a cervical smear test.

    You have to pay for dental treatment unless you fall into certain categories. If you get an NHS dentist, it's a bit cheaper than going private, but it's still expensive.

    You have to pay for opticians visits and glasses. However, certain categories get reduced cost or free glasses. You can get some very cheap or free sight test deals these days and your place of employment will normally pay for sight tests if you use VDU screens a lot.

    I don't think that universal healthcare is perfect by any means, but I wouldn't want a privatised system. I like that fact that if you have an accident or some other health issue, you can visit your doctor or the hospital and it won't cost you anything (other than perhaps the cost of a prescription).

    There are problems with the NHS. There are long wait times for operations deemed non-urgent. Sometimes people can be left in a lot of pain for months awaiting surgery. MrsPoppers - I can well believe that the operation you refer to was postponed. I've heard similar stories myself.

    I've heard criticisms that healthcare here can be something of a postcode lottery. This is in terms of, for example what drugs you can be prescribed and how good the out of hours care is.

    I think the NHS falls down a lot on mental health care. It's incredibly difficult to get counselling/therapy on the NHS.

    We also have a problem with healthcare tourists - meaning people who fly over here for free healthcare they are not entitled to. How much this is exaggerated by the media, I don't know.

    Bottom line - I want to keep the NHS. I would prefer to see the same rules regardless of your postcode. I would also like the NHS to be more proactive, rather than reactive. Deal with things when they are a small problem, rather than waiting for it to become a huge expensive issue. I think people need to take some responsibility for their health and also cancel their appointment if they don't intend on showing up.
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  • curlylauracurlylaura Posts: 8,352Registered Users
    I agree with everything piglet said.

    I work in a pharmacy, only about 11% of patients pay for their prescriptions and if someone had more than 3 medications each month they will not have to pay more than £104 for medication over the year no matter how much they have.

    I do think people should be fined for not attending NHS appointments. Also I think some things should not be allowed on NHS prescriptions (paracetamol, aspirin as a painkiller, gluten free foods, nappy rash cream) when they can be bought quite easily.
    Fat does not make you fat. It's actually pretty important.
  • redhedredhed Posts: 1Registered Users
    Agree w Piglet too.

    There are issues with the NHS, but they are mostly organisational and I think some of them are inevitable due to the size of the thing and the constant pressure to cut costs. But the culture of the NHS means that people working there are focussed on patients, not money. When there's a real medical emergency the whole (apparently) disorganised shambles will leap into action and pull out fast, efficient, world-beating care. For free. For everyone.

    Tbh I think it gives better value for money to pay a bit extra tax and have a healthcare organisation that puts the overwhelming majority of that money into actual medical care, than pay considerably more to a private company which is just another business so inevitably a big % of that money goes on swanky offices, director salaries and shareholder dividends. And some unnecessary treatments - just the mechanics of the whole insurance claim system makes that inevitable, too.
  • rouquinnerouquinne Posts: 13,499Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    this news story from CBS Sunday Morning talks about the system in France. it sure makes their system seem ideal in comparison to the one in England.

    Why The French Can Afford To Get Sick - CBS News

    maybe Starmie could tell us about how it works in Australia...
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  • fraufrau Posts: 6,130Registered Users
    just wanted to chime in that my daughter who is 23 is still covered on my health insurance (thanks to obamacare/affordable care act).

    however, when she went in for a routine yearly physical it cost $300!!

    someone explained that they went in for their yearly physical and it was free.

    i was confused.

    apparently, wellness exams are free but a thorough physical is not.
  • rouquinnerouquinne Posts: 13,499Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    one other thing...

    in Canada, medical expenses that are not covered by the public system or your private insurance plan are also deductible from your income taxes. i think the expenses have to total 5% of your income - can't remember if it's gross or net - and you can save them up for a few years and use them at once (which i've done with prescriptions).

    also, damsel mentioned bariatric surgery above. there aren't many surgeons or hospitals that do gastric bypass - even in the population-heavy part of the country i live in. here in London, even with a major teaching hospital, there is apparently a 2-year wait for these operations.

    however, my mom saw a neurosurgeon in Toronto on Friday - after only a month-long wait - and is scheduled for surgery next month.
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  • StarmieStarmie Posts: 6,681Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    We have Medicare here in Australia which is government funded healthcare for everyone. If you need to go into hospital you don't need to pay anything but if it's not urgent you could be waiting a while.

    Medicare has a schedule of fees that it ascribes to every appointment, procedure, operation, test etc that you can think of and will pay whatever that fee is to the doctor providing the service. The doctor may or may not charge higher fees so you can end up paying something to the doctor too (gap payments) There are also gap payments to be paid to some specialists to whom Medicare will only pay 85% of the schedule fee. My gp charges $50 for an appt, I get $38 back from Medicare. Some gps "bulk-bill" and claim the fee straight from Medicare on the understanding that the patient won't be charged anything, this is entirely up to the individual dr. Less and less drs do this these days.

    Medicare also covers eye tests, again some opticians will bulk-bill, some won't.

    There is a public dentist service but I don't know much about that other than it's very difficult to get in and I don't know how it's funded. I don't know anyone that uses it.

    Children up to the age of 18 get free basic dental care and free doctors appts.

    Some medications are government subsidised though I don't know how that's managed (Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme).

    There's a "safety net" for people (or families) who, over the course of a year, have a lot of medical bills - once they reach a certain limit they become entitled to free care for the rest of the year.

    We also have private health care schemes which are probably pretty much like anywhere else in the world, I think about 40% of the population has some sort of cover. The government would like it to be more to take the strain off Medicare but it's very expensive (well, I think it is!).

    I'm not sure if that makes sense but I hope you get the gist of it!

    MrsPoppers - My parents are in the UK and a few years ago my dad had a back problem which was really debilitating. When they finally found out what it was he was told he could have surgery, the wait for the NHS was (I think) between 12 and 18 months. He asked how long he'd have to wait if he went private and was told they could do it the following week - same surgeon, same hospital. He raided his savings and did it. The exact same thing happened to my friends mum, so no exaggerations!
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  • curlylauracurlylaura Posts: 8,352Registered Users
    Starmie wrote: »

    MrsPoppers - My parents are in the UK and a few years ago my dad had a back problem which was really debilitating. When they finally found out what it was he was told he could have surgery, the wait for the NHS was (I think) between 12 and 18 months. He asked how long he'd have to wait if he went private and was told they could do it the following week - same surgeon, same hospital. He raided his savings and did it. The exact same thing happened to my friends mum, so no exaggerations!


    I did the same thing for my first back surgery
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  • rouquinnerouquinne Posts: 13,499Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    an article about the British NHS:

    Not Safe For Work Corporation
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  • munchkinmunchkin Posts: 2,909Registered Users
    How much do you pay in taxes in your respective countries as compared to US? I think our tax base is a lot lower than yours. What a lot of people don't take into consideration is you either pay for it up front (in higher taxes) or at the back (in higher premiums). It's not free/cheap either way.
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  • rouquinnerouquinne Posts: 13,499Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    i think i said up above that our marginal tax rate would give Americans heart palpitations!

    :D
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  • damsel_flydamsel_fly Posts: 457Registered Users
    Our tax rate gives me palpitations! :?

    of my gross income
    25% goes to taxes (incl. Canada Pension and Employment Insurance)

    11% goes to (work pension, union dues, Blue Cross, work life insurance)
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