“Don’t touch my free health care,” is a common refrain from defenders of the status quo whenever anyone broaches the topic of reforming Canada’s health-care system.
canadian health care
Professor Colleen Flood’s recent column in Globe Debate (Canada should look to Europe on health care, not the U.S) got the title right – but just about everything else wrong. Canadians would indeed benefit from a look at Europe for lessons on healthcare reform. What they should not do is fall for Ms. Flood’s erroneous jumbling of statistics that muddle reality and results in false conclusions.
A recent testimony before a U.S. Senate subcommittee by Dr. Danielle Martin, former head of the Canadian Doctors for Medicare, has given Canadians the chance to indulge in what may be a favourite pastime - criticizing the American health care system.
Waiting has become a defining characteristic of the Canadian health care experience. Patients stricken with illness, from mild to serious, must wait their turn for access to emergency care, family doctors, medical specialists, diagnostic scans, and treatment.
These delays, which can be quite substantial, impose needless costs on Canadians in terms of their economic, social, and mental well-being and can lead to less-desirable health care outcomes. Fortunately, this serious health care problem can be readily solved through policy reforms based on European successes.
One irony of Canadian life is that the most economically free province in the country, Alberta, often has government policy that is the most hostile to private health care. Another irony, this time right across Canada, is that one can spend any amount of money on a basic necessity of life such as food. But when Canadians want to use their own money to purchase medical treatment to improve, prolong, or even save that same life, they are legally prevented from doing so.
In most places, if you spend more, you receive more in goods or services. The glaring exception is Canada's government-run health care system.
Fraser Forum - September/October 2013: Canadian health care: Taxes, long waits, and lagging innovation
For many Canadians, the Victoria Day long weekend marks the beginning of summertime holiday planning, if not a late May escape after a long winter. For those who travel outside of the country in the coming months, we have a modest proposal: find a pub, sit down with locals and ask about their nations health care system.