NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 3, 2008

Canada's taxpayers are not receiving the same sort of value that their counterparts in other nations are when it comes to universally accessible health care insurance, says Nadeem Esmail, of the Fraser Institute. 

For example:

  • Canada has the third most-expensive universal access health insurance system; only Iceland and Switzerland spend more as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) on their universal access health insurance systems than Canada did.
  • In 2007, waiting lists for access to health care in Canada reached a new all-time high of 18.3 weeks from a general practitioner referral to treatment by a specialist; this wait time is 54 percent longer than the overall wait time of 11.9 weeks back in 1997.
  • The number of Canadians without a regular physician is estimated to be around 5 million.

The journal "Health Affairs" recently published a study of six universal access nations, which found:

  • Canadians were more likely to experience waiting times of more than six months for elective surgery than Australians, German, the Dutch, and New Zealanders, but slightly less likely than patients in the United Kingdom.
  • Canadians were least likely to wait less than one month for elective surgery.
  • Canadians were the most likely to wait six days or longer to see a doctor when ill, and were least likely to receive an appointment the same day or the next day.

Access to medical technologies is also relatively poor in Canada:

  • Canada ranked 13th of 24 nations in terms of MRI machines per million population.
  • Canada ranked 18th of 24 nations for CT scanners per million population, 7th of 17 for mammographs per million population, and tied for second to last among 20 nations for lithotripters per million population.

Source: Nadeem Esmail, "Canada's Health Care System- Poor Value for Your Tax Dollars," Fraser Institute, June 2008.


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