Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Failure That Is Canadian Healthcare

There is an incisive article in the Canadian Free Press written by Klaus Rohrich on the utter failure that is the single payer Canadian Healthcare System. Here are just a few facts;

Canada, who along with Cuba and North Korea, is one of the
world’s only three countries where private, for profit healthcare is illegal.Canada outlawed all private medical care with the passage of the Canada Health Act of 1984. Within the first decade governments were forced to control their healthcare expenses by rationing care. Rationing was achieved by limiting enrollments in medical schools, which served to reduce the number of
healthcare professionals dramatically and, of course created huge shortages in the healthcare system. Twenty-five years after the enactment of the Canada Health Act, Canada’s healthcare expenditures are among the highest of all countries offering universal access to healthcare. In fact the only country out of 28 that spends more on healthcare than Canada is Iceland.

The Fraser Institute concluded that the Canadian healthcare model “is inferior to those that are in place in other countries of the OECD. It produces inferior age-adjusted access to physicians and technology, produces longer waiting times, is less successful in preventing deaths from preventable causes and costs more than almost all of the other systems that have comparable objectives.”

...access to medical specialists is so curtailed that it
routinely takes upward of two months from the time a patient is referred to a specialist before the patient is even called back with an appointment. A four to six-month wait for an appointment with a specialist is the rule, not the
exception, with some procedures, such as joint replacements, taking in excess of three years from initially being seen by a general practitioner to having the procedure completed.

While 15% of the US population currently doesn’t have health insurance, 20% of the Canadian population does not have ready access to a family doctor.

My aunt lives in the UK where it is common for employers to offer private health insurance for employees. Why you might ask? Because most consumers do not want to wait 4-6 months to see a specialist or 3 years for a knee replacement. After my uncle retired, my aunt no longer had access to private insurance and indeed did wait 3 years for her knee replacement. The pain medicines required over that 3 year wait had an impact on her heart. So many people who talk about single payer as a panacea do not want to talk about the practical impact it has on people.

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