Canada deports cancer patient to save costs

When people tell you how much more humane government-run health care is, ask them to explain the case of Juana Tejada in Canada. Tejada came to Canada as part of the government’s attempt to attract foreigners to fill roles as live-in caregivers, apparently to help the Canadians to save some money on wages. When Tejada herself became sick with cancer a few years after her arrival, suddenly the Canadians didn’t find her valuable enough to treat (via QandO):

Juana Tejada wants to stay – and die – in Canada.

A live-in caregiver from the Philippines, the terminally ill cancer patient will be forced to leave when her work permit expires in two months, even though her period of service here as a nanny was supposed to be the gateway to permanent residency.

Tejada has twice been denied a chance to stay, however, because her illness puts a burden on the health-care system. …

The 38-year-old came to Canada in 2003 under the federal live-in caregiver program, which grants permanent resident status to domestic workers after they complete their three-year assignments and obtain the necessary medical and criminal-record clearances.

Her cancer was found in 2006, during an exam for her immigration application. Tejada appealed to immigration officials to waive the good-health requirement for humanitarian reasons.

“While I am sympathetic to your situation, I am not satisfied that these circumstances justify granting an exemption,” a case processing officer in Alberta wrote in the latest decision. “In the opinion of a medical officer, this health condition might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health and social services.”

Got that? They wanted Juana to come to Canada so she could serve Canadians who needed home health care. When Juana got sick, the same health care service for which she worked couldn’t be bothered to foot the bill for her treatments. Juana worked and paid into that system for three years before they discovered that she would “cause excessive demand” for her treatment.

Now, let’s imagine that a private health insurer pulled that kind of stunt. It would make headlines, and political candidates across the spectrum would start including Juana as the victim of the corporate, profit-centered mentality of the American health care system. Except, of course, it doesn’t happen. Insurers can’t kick people off their rolls for getting cancer after their coverage starts, and the US government doesn’t deport legal immigrants for dying before they’ve serviced enough Americans to make them worthwhile.

Government-run health care rations treatment.  It sets limits and conditions on access to health care, and generates irrational solutions such as this.  And only the power of the government could have resulted in the deportation of a low-wage recruit into that system because she needed the very services she supported.