NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 24, 2005

The average Canadian family pays about 48 percent of its income in taxes each year. Meanwhile, the country's socialized health care system consumes an increasing portion of federal and provincial revenues. In Ontario, for instance, about 40 percent of its entire budget is spent on health care, and at present rates, will consume 85 percent by 2035.

Despite all the funds slated for health care, Canada suffers from long waiting lists and a lack of physicians, observes

  • Today, the average wait for surgical or specialist treatment is nearly 18 weeks, up from 9.3 weeks in 1993; the average wait for an orthopedic surgeon is more than 9 months.
  • An estimated 4 million of Canada's 33 million people don't have family physicians and more than 1 million are on waiting lists for treatment.
  • Canada has 2.1 doctors per 1,000 people, while Belgium has 3.9; some 200 physicians head to the United States each year, attracted by lower taxes and better working conditions.

In order to ensure the private sector does not distort the "equal" access to care, Canada bans the purchase of insurance for hospitalization or surgery. But Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute says a two-tiered system already exists: those with connections (politicians, celebrities or athletes) can jump to the head of the medical queue and those who can afford it can get treatment in the United States.

Source: "Canada to Heart Patients: Sorry If You Die Before We Can Treat You,", March 21, 2005.


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