Thursday, September 20, 2007

D'oh, Canada!

Far from being a health care paradise, Canada's system is in disarray — and getting worse. That's why it's pursuing private-sector reforms, even as we consider national health care.
In 1998, 212,990 Canadians were on hospital waiting lists for surgery, waiting on average 13.3 weeks. Today, more than 800,000 Canadians are on waiting lists, waiting often 20 weeks or more (see charts above).

Survival rates for major types of cancer in the U.S. are higher than in Canada. As such, seven of 10 Canadian provinces send their prostate-cancer patients to the U.S. for treatment. What does that tell you?

Americans have more access to advanced medical procedures like dialysis and coronary bypass surgery, and use more medical technology like CT scanners and MRI imaging machines. Canada's Fraser Institute puts it bluntly: "Canadian patients do not get the same quality or quantity of care as American patients."

Read more here in today's Investor's Business Daily.


At 9/20/2007 8:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone explain why Canadians live longer than we do?

Doesn't anyone ever check the sources of the information given? The cancer survival rates for the U.S. do not include reporting from VA Hospitals and that would likely (based on extrapolations from previous years when the VA did report) result in a reduction of the five year survival rate to a level lower than that of Canada.

Canada might have long waiting lists but their people live longer than we do and their five year cancer survival rate is in reality (if the VA stats are included) likely higher than ours is.

Sure Canadians come here for medical procedures just as we go abroad for medical procedures. Don't believe me just Google "medical tourism" and see the bargains available in world class hospitals that cater to "rich" Westerners.

Some of these procedures are being done offshore for less than what the deductible or copay might be here depending on ones insurance plan.

For many medical tourists, though, the real attraction is price. The cost of surgery in India, Thailand or South Africa can be one-tenth of what it is in the United States or Western Europe, and sometimes even less. A heart-valve replacement that would cost $200,000 or more in the U.S., for example, goes for $10,000 in India--and that includes round-trip airfare and a brief vacation package. Similarly, a metal-free dental bridge worth $5,500 in the U.S. costs $500 in India, a knee replacement in Thailand with six days of physical therapy costs about one-fifth of what it would in the States, and Lasik eye surgery worth $3,700 in the U.S. is available in many other countries for only $730. Cosmetic surgery savings are even greater: A full facelift that would cost $20,000 in the U.S. runs about $1,250 in South Africa.

At 9/20/2007 10:15 PM, Blogger juandos said...

A @ 8:02 PM says: "Doesn't anyone ever check the sources of the information given?"

Do you sir?

Medical tourism? Well the prices will level out as market forces take hold...

Why do Canadians live longer you ask...

I think John Stossel answered the question already: On Friday’s "Good Morning America," token conservative reporter John Stossel told portly filmmaker Michael Moore, "Forgive me. More of us look like you" and that obesity explains why Canadians live longer than Americans, not universal health care

At 9/21/2007 9:23 AM, Blogger james said...

Ok, this may be a bit of a digression but I think that, as I have stated in previous discussions we have a price problem that needs to be addressed instead of a payment problem.

The AMA will claim that these prices are required for healthier future, but what we may really be dealing with is protectionism. We need to break the spell that the domestic medical system has on us. They have us arguing about how to pay tax pool vs insurance. Mean while they are keeping us distracted by why the hell we are paying so much. These people are not gods, most of what I find out at a doctors visit is usually echoed by what ever information I find on It is just a matter of controlling knowledge, and the knowledge is out of the bag. Let's pull the curtain back on OZ. But don't take my word for it, check out what the Economist magazine posted on this topic today.

I think we have been caught watching the birdie.

At 9/21/2007 9:28 AM, Blogger james said...

Cut and paste to read "A spoonful of monopoly helps the medicine go down"

At 9/21/2007 8:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

juandos of course I check the sources of my information.

The five year cancer survival rates being thrown around lately originate from a recent issue of The Lancet Oncology. What those people don't tell you is that in the same issue of The Lancet Oncology another article stated that VA Hospitals are not reporting Cancer survival rates.

The Lancet Oncology article regarding five year cancer survival rates failed to include survival rates for Canada even though those rates are readily available. The five year survival rate for major cancers in Canada is 60% for both sexes which is lower than the five-year survival rate in the United States of 66% per cent in men and 63% in women.

The problem is that when you factor in the missing VA Stats the survival rates drop for us.

Health care should address all aspects of a persons well being. If Canadians are encouraged more successfully to maintain healthier habits by their health care system then I guess their health care system has done a better job in that area.

The 800,000 Canadians waiting for surgery represent about 2.7% of the population while our fellow 47,000,000 Americans without health care insurance represent about 15.7% of the population...I couldn't readily find information on waiting lists.

Canada is just one example of a single payer heath care system. Look at Germany's so called socialized medicine and in many areas it proves better than what is here in the U.S. Germany has shorter waiting lists - see page 60,61, 62 of

and Boston has problems with longer waiting lists, see


Post a Comment

<< Home