The Hidden Costs of Single Payer Health Insurance: A Comparison of the United States and Canada

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When comparing Canada's single-payer health insurance system with the pluralistic system in the United States, many people mistakenly assume that Canadians enjoy universal coverage while receiving the same quality and quantity of medical goods and services as Americans, but at lower costs. The reality is that, on average, Americans spend more of their incomes on health care, but get faster access to more and better medical resources in return for the money spent.

In truth, the Canadian health insurance system is not cheap at all: it is actually among the most expensive in the world. Recent statistics show that only three other comparable countries (United States, Iceland, and Switzerland) spend more of their national income on health care than Canada. More importantly, Canadians do not get good value for money from their health system. There are many hidden costs in Canadian health care that are ignored by advocates of single-payer systems.

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