Socialized medicine in action

The chances of being diagnosed with a symptomatic pineal gland cyst are similar to winning a small lottery — and in Alberta you might need that jackpot just to pay for the surgery.
It’s a tale of benign agony for the unfortunate few to be diagnosed in this province: Excruciating headaches, vision loss, muscle spasms, fatigue, anxiety and extreme mood swings, to name some of the symptoms. But it won’t kill you.
That, coupled with the fact no doctor in Canada apparently feels comfortable removing a benign cyst from deep within in the brain, means Alberta doesn’t consider pineal gland cysts a big deal.
Or at least the province won’t typically pay for the surgery.  Patients in Alberta can either endure a life of painful, non-malignant misery, or they can somehow raise the quarter-million dollars needed to pay a U.S. specialist. For the unlucky few, Alberta’s default funding decision has been to rule the cyst-removal surgery elective, putting it in the same up-to-you category as a boob job or hip replacement.
That means the $250,000 bill is the patient’s problem. [Source]              [BJS]