A new Fraser Institute study reviews what Canadians pay for their government-controlled health insurance. As the NCPA summarizes:
In Canada, taxpayers are increasingly being asked to pay more for the public health care system.
However, Canadians often misunderstand the true cost of the system because many services are offered free at the point of use. In addition, Canada’s health care system is financed through general government revenues so that funding comes from many sources, making it difficult for Canadians to track how much they contribute, say Nadeem Esmail and Milagros Palacios of the Fraser Institute.
[Over the past decade], the estimated average payment for public health care insurance for six common types of Canadian families has increased by:
- More than 30 percent for two adults with no children.
- Nearly 26 percent for a family of two parents and one child.
- Twenty-two percent for a family of two parents and two children.
- About 35 percent for a single individual.
- More than 25 percent for a family of one parent and one child.
- And finally, 21.5 percent for a family of one parent and two children.
Furthermore, the share of income that a Canadian has to pay for health care has also increased relative to the changes in cost of other necessities of life.
Read more: The Price of Public Health Care Insurance.
CTV of Canada reports:
Canadians with chronic conditions are frequent users of the health-care system, but a new report shows many experience considerable difficulty getting the medical treatment they need.
Read more: ‘Sicker’ Canadians struggle to obtain treatment: report.
Via John Goodman’s blog & Medibid.
At The Globe and Mail‘s “Ask a Health Expert,” May 2011:
My father-in-law needs cervical decompression surgery. He’s been told it will be 12 to 18 months and that the only way he will get the operation sooner is if he degrades further, potentially to the point of paralysis. Cancer patients, he’s been told, have priority. What options do patients have or are they at the mercy of the system?
via 18-month wait for spinal surgery – are you kidding me? – The Globe and Mail.
As Paul Hsieh, MD notes: “Fortunately, the US is not yet in such dire straits. Yet.”
Reuters reports on health care in Canada:
Pressured by an aging population and the need to rein in budget deficits, Canada’s provinces are taking tough measures to curb healthcare costs, a trend that could erode the principles of the popular state-funded system. …
“There’s got to be some change to the status quo whether it happens in three years or 10 years,” said Derek Burleton, senior economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank.
“We can’t continually see health spending growing above and beyond the growth rate in the economy because, at some point, it means crowding out of all the other government services.
“At some stage we’re going to hit a breaking point.” …
Ontario says healthcare could eat up 70 percent of its budget in 12 years, if all these costs are left unchecked.
Scotia Capital’s [senior economist, Mary] Webb said one cost-saving idea may be to make patients aware of how much it costs each time they visit a healthcare professional. “(The public) will use the services more wisely if they know how much it’s costing,” she said.
“If it’s absolutely free with no information on the cost and the information of an alternative that would be have been more practical, then how can we expect the public to wisely use the service?”
As David Kramer remarked at Lew Rockell’s blog, “Duh.”
A reminder that universal health coverage does not mean you get the medical care you need. From the Associated Press, Feb. 5:
ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland — The premier of Canada’s east coast province is undergoing heart surgery in the United States this week because the treatment he is seeking was not available in his home province.
The announcement about of Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams’ plans has triggered a debate since Canada prides itself on its universal health care system.
Read more: Canadian official seeks heart surgery in US.
The Independence Institute has two new videos in its series on Obama’s health care policy proposals (as proposed by Congressional Democrats). These are two testimonials from Canadian patients who suffered while waiting months and years for medical treatment. Is this what awaits patients in the U.S.? After all, advocates of the new government health plan want Canadian-style single payer. It’s not just Barney Frank.
This is not to defend the current health policy in the United States. It coddles and empowers insurance companies by discounting their products and shielding them from competition. Only free-market health care reform can empower patients.
See BigGovHealth for similar testimonials from patients in Canada and other countries. This one on waiting for brain surgery in Canada and this one about distorted priorities in Canada are also good.