If Obamacare was always meant to be a leap toward a single payer health care system, we are certainly within our rights to examine how well the system is working in… for example… Canada.
Since Canada is an advanced industrial democracy, comparing us to them is certainly reasonable.
So says, Sally Pipes this morning. Having studied the Canadian system in depth, she draws some harsh conclusions:
Single-payer’s cheerleaders cite Canada as proof of the system’s superiority. It’s a foolish fetish: Our northern neighbor’s health-care system is plagued by rationing, long waits, poor-quality care, scarcities of vital medical technologies and unsustainable costs. That’s exactly what’s in store for America if we follow Canada’s lead.
Rationing means that needed care is unavailable to all but those who can pay for it out of pocket… presumably, by traveling to the United States.
To keep a lid on costs, Canadian officials ration care. As a result, the average Canadian has to wait 4½ months between getting a referral from his primary-care physician to a specialist for elective medical treatment — and actually receiving it.
Mind you, “elective treatment” in Canada doesn’t mean Botox or a tummy tuck. We’re talking about life-or-death procedures like neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery or cardiovascular surgery.
Of course, some American states adopted Obamacare before the others. Take Massachusetts, where they call it Romneycare:
Bostonians face the longest wait times for an appointment in America, according to Merritt Hawkins, a consultancy. That’s no surprise, given that Massachusetts essentially enacted ObamaCare in 2006, four years before it went national. Even so, the average wait in Boston is 45.4 days — about three months less than in Canada.
Obviously, anyone who thought that the best way to defeat President Obama was to run a candidate who had implemented the predecessor of Obamacare in Massachusetts was wrong. Mitt Romney would do the Republican Party an enormous favor by retiring from the political scene.
But, going back to Canada, that very wealthy nation promises a lot more care than it can provide. Because, a system run by government bureaucrats is markedly inefficient:
There’s also a severe shortage of essential medical equipment. Canada ranks 14th among 22 OECD countries in MRI machines per million people, with an average wait time to use one at just over eight weeks. Canada ranks a dismal 16th in CT scanners per million people, with an average wait time of over 3.6 weeks.
The United States ranks second in MRI machines per-capita, and fifth in CTs.
Every Canadian is technically “guaranteed” access to health care. But long waits and the scarce resources leave many untreated.
Speaking of inefficiency, when people cannot receive needed treatment promptly, their conditions get worse. This means that they will need “more expensive and extensive treatments.”
When people aren’t treated in a timely fashion, their conditions worsen, which often means significantly more expensive and extensive treatments. The Center for Spatial Economics, a Canadian research outfit, estimates that wait times for just four key procedures — MRI scans and surgeries for joint replacement, cataracts and coronary-artery-bypass grafts — cost Canadian patients $14.8 billion a year in excess medical costs and lost productivity.
As for the cost, Canadians pay for it through taxes. Naturally, this does not apply to the people who do not pay taxes. In America, most of that cohort votes Democratic.
If you think that your insurance premiums are high, look at how much you would be paying in taxes to get Canadian-style substandard, rationed treatment:
Nor is Canadians’ treatment close to “free”: Patients may only have to pay a nominal fee when they get treatment. But the typical Canadian family pays about $11,300 in taxes every year to finance the public-insurance system.