NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Canadians Dissatisfied With Socialized Medicine

January 26, 2000

American for-profit health care would come to Alberta, Canada, under a proposal from Premier Ralph Klein. To reduce waiting lists at hospitals, he would let the provincial government pay private clinics to perform surgery, such as hip replacements.

The widely discussed plan points out the growing discontent with socialized medicine in Canada. A survey by Toronto-based Polara showed:

  • On all income levels, 74 percent of Canadians support the idea of user fees for those who can afford them -- meaning they would be required to pay out of pocket part of the cost of their medical care.
  • Of respondents making C$25,000 or less, 85 percent support user fees.
  • And only 23 percent support increasing taxes on workers to keep the national health system afloat.

Over the last 30 years, say critics, Canada's socialized health care system -- known as medicare -- has destroyed what was arguably the second-best health care system in the world, next to the U.S.

Rationing of health care by waiting is becoming increasingly common, and there are shortages of hospital rooms and doctors. For instance, Ontario recently conceded it needs an additional 1,000 doctors, and according to the New York Times, 23 of Toronto's 25 hospitals had to turn away ambulances one day in January. Finally, an official at Vancouver General Hospital estimates that 20 percent of heart attack patients, who should be treated in 15 minutes, are waiting an hour or more for care.

Source: Editorial, "Tired of Socialized Medicine," Investor's Business Daily, January 26, 2000.


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