[Carter is on vacation, but he’ll be back next week, cranky as ever!]

Last week Carter wrote about some positive aspects of the Canadian health care system.  But it’s certainly not all roses. While Canadians are guaranteed a basic level of healthcare, those with conditions that fall outside this basic level are on their own, and some vendors appear to take full advange of that.

Case in point:  I recently visited the Ottawa offices of VitalAire, a large Canadian respiratory healthcare firm. I needed a new mask for use with my CPAP machine. The lady at the desk quoted me $249.99. Interestingly, the exact same product is availible on the Internet from US suppliers for US $86.50, or around CDN $100 at today’s exchange rate.

Being able to pick the item up locally is certainly worth something, and Canadian prices for many goods do tend to be marginally higher than in the USA. But the fact remains that I could purchase the mask, pay for overnight shipping, and still save more than $100.

I emailed VitalAire’s head office to ask why they sell the product in Canada for 250 percent more than it costs in the United States.  Not surprisingly, they didn’t respond.

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