When leftists in the United States try to pitch a single-payer healthcare system, they tend to talk about Canada’s system as some sort of model of how wondrous such a thing could be. According to them, it’s efficient, it’s ‘cost-effective,’ and it keeps Canadians healthy.
The truth is that leftists tend to gloss over most of the negative aspects of Canadian health care. One of the big negatives, and one that the media seems in a hurry to ignore recently, is that record numbers of people in Canada have to wait for care. In fact, the country set numerous records concerning waits for care, stunning onlookers and observers. This is what happens when the government seizes control of such an important portion of the economy.
A new report by the Frasier Institute, a Canadian think-tank based in Vancouver, showcased that not only do Canada’s absurdly long wait times for healthcare procedures cause discomfort and pain; they also waste money.
According to the fine folks at the Frasier Institute, over a million people had to wait for health care last year. That’s an all-time record for Canada, and not one that they should be excited to set.
Worse still, the time wasted waiting for treatment cost the nation’s citizens to lose $1.9 billion in lost wages. In other words, each of those million people, on average, lost about $1,800 waiting for health care.
Depending on what they do for a living and how much they earn, that can be as much as an entire month’s take-home salary for some Canadian citizens.
Around the world, single-payer systems tend to have much longer wait times than those that are not government-operated. England, for example, has constantly been in the news due to such issues with their National Health Service. One family was recently forbidden to leave the country to seek alternate healthcare after their son was deemed too much of a burden on the system and told he must die.
It’s strange to see that democrats and their political allies, such as Bernie Sanders, who attempted to defeat Hillary Clinton in the democrat primary, wish to emulate systems that have such long wait times and death rates.
Indeed, Sanders admitted that his own ‘Medicare For All’ bill was modeled after Canada’s own health system. He went on a ‘fact-finding’ trip to investigate their health system in 2017, and while he was there he praised the nation for “guaranteeing” health care for all of its citizens, suggesting that the United States could learn a lot from them.
However, all that Canada really guarantees is a spot languishing on a waiting list.
According to the Frasier Institute’s report, in 2017, more than 173,000 citizens had to wait on an ophthalmology procedure in the nation. Around 91,000 had to wait in line for some sort of surgical procedure, and 40,000 had to wait for a urology procedure.
All told, a whopping three percent of the country was waiting for a medical procedure at the end of 2017.
After receiving a referral from a general practitioner in Canada, the average citizen had to wait 21 weeks for treatment from a specialist.
For those living in rural areas, the numbers are even worse. A citizen needing an orthopedic surgery waited almost 24 weeks, on average, to see a specialist. A typical patient in the more rural Canadian province of Nova Scotia, on the other hand, waited nearly 39 weeks for the same procedure.
In one specific instance, a citizen named Judy Congdon was told that she needed a hip replacement in 2016. According to reporting by the Toronto Sun, doctors scheduled the procedure for September, 2017, for the Ontario resident.
However, the hospital ran over budget, and there wasn’t enough money to cover the procedure. Physicians then rescheduled the procedure for 2018.
According to the Frasier Institute, the value of all the lost time, not just wages, for people who had to wait on procedures, came out to around $5,600 per patient, or about $5.8 billion over the course of the year. That number doesn’t include the money lost or wasted by family members and friends who had to act as de facto caregivers, either.
Single-payer systems have to keep their costs under control somehow. To do this, they set a cap on how much money they will provide to any particular hospital. That means the hospital is limited in how much staff it can hire, how much it can pay staff, and how much equipment it can buy in a given year.
When they run out of equipment for procedures, or they’re not able to find staff to cover certain procedures, they end up having to cancel and reschedule care that people need.
The United Kingdom’s NHS doesn’t do any better, either. According to doctors in the system, hospitals are so overcrowded that it isn’t uncommon to perform procedures in hallways.
The government-run system had to cancel tens of thousands of surgeries, including necessary surgeries related to things like cancer, due to shortages of resources.
Americans don’t often hear of similar issues in the United States. In fact, the few times that similar stories come out about care in America, they’re usually related to the government-run Department of Veterans Affairs and their medical facilities.
Polls in the United States have said that as many as 70 percent of people in the nation are in favor of a single-payer health care system. Maybe the media should be honest in reporting the failings of such systems. However, they won’t. People won’t become slaves if they know the truth.