Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Top 10 Reasons to Reject Canadian Medicine in CA

1. In 1993, Canadian patients waited on average 9.3 weeks between the time they saw their family physician and the time they actually received specialist treatment. By 2006, that wait had nearly doubled to 17.8 weeks.

2. Median wait times in Canada are almost double the wait that physicians consider clinically reasonable.

3. Canadians currently wait an average of 18 weeks between the time they see their family physician and the time they receive treatment from a specialist.

4. In 2004, 25.5 MRI exams per 1000 population were performed in Canada, compared to 83.2 in the U.S.

5. In 2003, 45 in-patient surgical procedures per 1000 population were performed in Canada, compared to 88 in the U.S.

6. In 2004, Canada had 2.1 practicing physicians per 1000 population, compared to 2.4 in the United States—equivalent to 300 fewer doctors per 1 million residents.

7. In 2003, the average hospital in Ontario (Canada’s largest province) was 40 years old; the average hospital in the United States was 9 years old.

8. Canadian physicians earn only 42% as much as American physicians. Canadian nurses earn only two thirds as much as American nurses. Canada’s public monopoly exploits the services of medical labour by holding down wage rates below what they would be in the market.

9. As a result of below-market wages, thousands of Canadian-trained and previously active physicians have left Canada for better opportunities and working conditions in the United States. In 2003, more than 1.2 million Canadians were unable to find a regular family physician.

10. In Canada government spending on health care is growing faster than the ability of the government to pay for it. Public health spending will consume more than half of total revenue from all sources by the year 2020, two-thirds by the year 2035, and all of provincial revenue by 2050.

From the Fraser Institute report "California Dreaming: The Fantasy of a Canadian-Style Health Insurance Monopoly in the United States," released today as California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger begins a three-day visit to Canada, warning the governor of the consequences of implementing a Canadian-style health insurance system in his home state.

Here is the Fraser Institutes's
press release.


At 5/29/2007 2:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're Number Two: Canada Has As Good Or Better Health Care Than The U.S.

New England Journal of Medicine Study Shows U.S. Health Care Paperwork Cost $294.3 Billion in 1999
Far More Than in Canada

Canada Trumps U.S. in Healthcare, Study Says: U.S. spends twice as much as its neighbor, but Americans fare worse, findings show

At 5/29/2007 9:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the other commenter suggested, Canadian health outcomes are not much worse than American, so I suspect that the decreases in MRI use would be similar to that in the U.S. if Medicare was eradicated, health insurance made non-deductible, and people started paying directly for their care in a more market-oriented way.

On the other hand, I suspect more market-oriented care in the U.S. would actually have shorter waits and better customer service.

BTW, on comparing health care paperwork costs, you also would want to compare the deadweight costs of higher medical taxes.

At 5/30/2007 5:16 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Going South for Health Care
Canadians fed up with long waits for medical care are routinely going to the United States. Should you?

United States and Canada: A Tale of Two Medicares

Last Thursday, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article stating that administrative costs of health care in the United States are higher than those in Canada: $1,059 (U.S.) in the United States versus $307 (U.S.) in Canada. The lead author, professor Steffi Woolhandler of Harvard Medical School, has written similar articles over the years, all with the conclusion that the United States should embrace government-monopoly health insurance like we have in Canada.

As the authors note, American patients, doctors, and hospitals have to deal with multiple insurers, each of which has different policies and paperwork.

In Canada, patients only have to deal with one government-run insurer per province. The authors believe that competing private insurers cause high administrative costs, and that a single payer would be able to capture this waste and spend it on patient care.

Unfortunately, Canada's experience shows that this is not the case.

In 2002, the average Canadian patient waited almost four months from the time his general practitioner decided that surgery was necessary until a specialist provided the care. That span of time has been growing since 1993, when it was only nine weeks.

Further, Canadians have little access, relative to other developed countries, to doctors and high-tech imaging machines. In a comparison of access to doctors, Canada ranked 17th of 20 countries. Canada also ranked of 17th of 22 countries in a comparison of access to CT scanners, 18th of 23 countries for access to MRI machines, and 13th of 14 countries for access to lithotriptors (used to pulverize kidney stones).

Remarkably, this lack of access comes at a high price. After accounting for the fact that Canada has a relatively young population, it spends more on health care than all multipayer OECD countries outside the U.S. -- countries such as Germany, Switzerland, and Japan.

Despite these facts, Prof. Woolhandler and colleagues assume that arbitrarily low administrative costs are the primary indicator of a well-functioning health-care system, and ignore other costs imposed by government monopoly. With some of the longest waiting times in the world, and age-adjusted health expenditures higher than all other OECD nations with universal health-care systems, the Canadian model is clearly not the rousing success it is purported to be


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