NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Calculating the Cost of "Free"

August 31, 2015

According to a study published this month by the Frasier Institute, a non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank Frasier Institute, the average Canadian family-of-four will pay nearly $12,000 next year for access to "free" healthcare.

The purpose of the study, titled The Price of Public Health Care Insurance, is to educate families about the cost of healthcare in Canada. In addition, the study also highlights the increase in cost over a ten-year period from 2005 to 2015:

  • Between 2005 and 2015, the cost for providing healthcare to a Canadian family, regardless of size, increased 48.5 per cent.
  • Increases in healthcare costs eclipsed the rate of increase for income (30.8 per cent), housing (35.9 per cent) and food (18.2 per cent).
  • The average Canadian family with two parents and two children earning $119,082 will pay $11,735 for public health care insurance in 2015. A single individual earning $42,244 can expect to pay $4,222.
  • Costs would be greater when including dental and prescription drug coverage.

While Canadian families are not responsible for paying healthcare costs out-of-pocket, they do pay for "free" access through taxes. Most Canadians are unaware of the costs associated with health care because they do not receive any bills for medical services and only a few pay "premiums" imposed in certain provinces. General government revenues are used to fund the Canadian healthcare system, further obscuring actual costs.

Source: John R. Graham, "'Free' Canadian Healthcare at $12,000 per Family", National Center for Policy Analysis, August 26, 2015.

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