NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 7, 2008

Canada's health care program is one of the most expensive in the developed world but it delivers relatively poor access to physicians, technology and care.  The reality is that Canada's approach to Medicare is the problem; changing the policies would markedly improve the performance of Canada's health care system, says Nadeem Esmail of the Fraser Institute.

For example:

  • Among the 28 developed nations who seek to achieve access to health care insurance regardless of ability to pay, Canada's health care system ranks third in expenditures.
  • At the same time, Canada's health care system ranks 24th among these 28 nations in the number of physicians per 1,000 people.
  • In addition, wait times for health care in Canada are not just unacceptably long, but are among the longest in the developed world.

Other developed nations have taken a very different approach from Canada to the management of health care resources, says Esmail:

  • More than three-quarters of developed nations that maintain the goal of access to health care insurance regardless of ability to pay require patients to share in the cost of the health services they consume.
  • More than half of developed nations who maintain universal approaches to health care allow private provision of publicly guaranteed services.
  • All of the other nations maintaining the goal of universal access to insurance allow individuals to seek care on their own terms with their own resources if they desire to do so.

Source: Nadeem Esmail, "A State of Affairs," Fraser Forum, March 2008.


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