Today marks the end of my first week as an official Vancouver resident. This was an easy move because we did not have far to go (from Oregon), there are no language barriers in dealing with mainstream society, and the environment is very similar to what we left.
And yet, there are differences. As in all foreign cultures, the reasons for why things are done a certain way reveal much about differences. E.g., there is a lot of Chinese acupuncture here. It would be obvious to assume the reason is the large Chinese population. True, but more pertinent is the fact that traditional acupuncture is covered by health plans because of that large Chinese population.
This is so different from the US, where acupuncture is not covered by mainstream insurance plans, nor is there any acceptance that I am aware of any health treatment that originates from one of the US big ethnic segments. Are Korean herbs covered in Koreatown, Los Angeles?
I’ve noticed a lot of therapeutic yoga on offer. Again, this is because many health plans cover it as a treatment, for multiple sclerosis in particular (MS is more common in the Pacific Northwest than in many other parts of the continent, one theory being that the lack of sun and Vitamin D are to blame). If it were covered in the US, there would be the same incentive for studios to offer it.
We’re learning a lot about the famous Canadian health care system. As in the US, it is beset by political debates. Of course, there is virtually no debate on whether or not it should exist. The arguments center on how to improve delivery and quality and keep costs under control.
It is also not “free” if you consider the taxes (high) paid to insure everyone. There are also fees, such as on prescriptions. Drugs aren’t cost-free, but what you pay is determined by income. That seems fair. What a concept.