A Québécois family on vacation in Florida wanted to avoid the costly U.S. healthcare so much that they drove more than 1,500 miles with a dead body in the backseat of their car.
The Montreal Journal recently reported on the tragic experience of the Drapeau family, from the Canadian province of Quebec, whose patriarch, 87-year-old Fernand Drapeau, died of an apparent heart attack while the family was vacationing in Florida. Drapeau had been experiencing health problems since the beginning of the trip, and may have been dead in the backseat of the car for at least a day. Police said a family driving with a dead body in their car was a “first.”
Rather than take him to a U.S. hospital, the Drapeau family decided to trek from Florida all the way back to Ormstown, their hometown just on the other side of the U.S./Canada border. While the Journal didn’t say exactly where in Florida the family was vacationing, Google Maps shows that the distance between Miami (a popular tourist destination) and Ormstown is more than 1,500 miles. If the family drove straight through the U.S., from Florida to Quebec, it would take approximately 24 hours.
A separate report in the Vancouver Sun said the family was worried about the cost of having Fernand Drapeau taken to an American hospital.
In Quebec, any Canadian citizen with a valid Medicare card from the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec can have most hospital services and outpatient treatment covered free of charge, according to the McGill University Health Centre. However, Debt.org estimates that in the U.S., a hospital visit typically costs around $4,000/day for patients without insurance. Average hospital stays come out to more than $15,000.
The high cost of U.S. healthcare is a hot-button political issue, and many Democratic candidates running for the presidency in 2020 have supported the idea of “Medicare for All,” in which the government would expand the Medicare program to all Americans in exchange for a premium, while eliminating deductibles and co-pays. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) recently introduced his 2019 version of Medicare for All legislation, which would replace for-profit private health insurance companies with a single-payer, government-run system.
Even though it’s been characterized as a far-left idea, Medicare for All has consistently won vast support from a wide majority of Americans in numerous polls. In January, 68% of Americans — and even 39% of Republicans — said they would support a national health insurance plan like Medicare for All in a Harvard/Harris poll.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.