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"Free" health care costs average Canadian family more than $11,000 per year

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Release Date: July 30, 2013

CALGARY, AB—A typical Canadian family with two parents and two children will pay $11,320 in taxes, on average, for public health care insurance in 2013, calculates a new report from the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“Health care is not free in Canada. The fact is, Canadian families pay thousands of dollars in taxes every year to cover the cost of public health care insurance. And that cost rose 1.5 times faster than average income over the past decade,” said Nadeem Esmail, Fraser Institute director of health policy studies and co-author of The Price of Public Health Care Insurance: 2013 Edition.

Using data from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the report calculates the amount of taxes Canadian families will pay to all levels of government in a year and the share of their total tax bill earmarked for public health insurance:

  • Family consisting of two parents with one child (average income: $108,609) will pay $10,989.
  • Family consisting of two parents with two children (average income: $113,247) will pay $11,320.
  • Family consisting of one parent with one child (average income: $49,619) will pay $3,905.
  • Family consisting of one parent with two children (average income: $49,372) will pay $3,387.
  • Family consisting of two adults with no children (average income: $99,226) at home will pay $11,381.
  • Unattached individuals (average income: $39,039) will pay $3,780.

The report notes that since 2003, the cost of health care for all family types went up 53.3 per cent before inflation. The price of public health insurance increased more than 1.5 times faster than the cost of shelter and clothing, more than twice as fast as the cost of food, and nearly 1.5 times faster than average income over the decade.

In addition, the report calculates that the 10 per cent of Canadian families with the lowest incomes (averaging $13,011) will pay $482, on average, for public health care insurance in 2013. The 10 per cent of families earning an average income of $56,596 will pay $5,364, while families among the top 10 per cent of income earners will pay $35,309 towards public health care insurance this year.



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