Democrats are undeterred by recent news of the failing Canadian healthcare system. Already, Democratic presidential hopeful Senators Bernie Sanders (VT), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Kamala Harris (CA), Cory Booker (NJ) and Elizabeth Warren (MA) have all endorsed a single-payer healthcare system like Canada. Some states, like California and New York, are considering similar state single-payer systems, despite the demise of such efforts in Senator Sanders’ home state of Vermont.
It is clear they are impervious to real world results where this system is currently in use. In an earlier post, Canada’s Long Wait Times for Healthcare, I discussed the recent findings of the Fraser Institute of Canada in its annual report. This documented median waiting times of 21.2 weeks between referral from a general practitioner and receipt of treatment. The Fraser Institute has been tracking these times since 1993 and 2017 was the worst year on record.
Sally Pipes, president of Pacific Research Institute, writes in Forbes that things are getting worse. Currently, more than one million Canadians are waiting for healthcare treatment, approximately 3% of their population. She says Canadian healthcare was supposed to provide “universal coverage.” Instead it only provides universal access to a waiting list.
It is often referred to as “free healthcare.” But in reality this “free healthcare” costs Canadians with a family of four more than $12,000 to cover their share of the costs. On top of this, the system costs an estimated $1.7 billion per year in lost wages and time. All that expense just to get on a waiting list!
The Impact on Doctors
Doctors are leaving Canada in droves. Orthopedic surgeons make less than half of their counterparts in the U.S. As a result, many doctors are moving to America. Others who were considering careers in medicine have chosen other careers. The result is doctor shortages that only exacerbate the waiting problem.
Rather than increase doctors’ pay, the Canadian government encourages international medical graduates who are willing to work in the system at lower wages. Since cost control is the major motivating factor, the government would rather use inferiorly trained doctors who will work for less.
All this has had no impact on the opinions of Democrats like Senator Sanders who said, “How is it that here in Canada they provide quality health care to all people . . . and they do it at half the cost?”
Apparently Senator Sanders doesn’t mind waiting over five months for his healthcare – but we all know he doesn’t subject himself to such delays personally. They’re only acceptable for everyone else.
(For more on single-payer healthcare, see Archives or plug in the word “Single-Payer” in the Search My Posts box.)