Earlier this month, Boy Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked Taylor Swift to take her tour to Canada, where she so far has no concert dates. “We hope to see you soon,” he tweeted. If she does, she’d better hope none of her crew becomes ill. A person could expire while waiting to see a doctor in Canada.
The Vancouver-based Fraser Institute, which has long documented Canada’s miserable government-run health care system, estimates the cost of waiting for care “for patients who were in the queue in 2022 was almost $3.6 billion … an average of about $2,925 for each of the estimated 1,228,047 Canadians waiting for treatment.”
The real toll is actually worse than that. Fraser’s “conservative estimate” does not place an “intrinsic value on the time individuals spend waiting in a reduced capacity outside of the work week.” When evenings and weekends are entered into the calculation, minus eight hours of sleep each night, the estimated cost of waiting reaches “$10.9 billion, or about $8,897 per person.”
In 2022, it took 12.6 weeks for the average Canadian to land an appointment with a specialist after a referral from a general practitioner. Another 14.8 weeks would elapse after that appointment before treatment by the specialist could begin. Fraser said that taken together, “the total median wait time in Canada for medical treatment was 27.4 weeks in 2022 – the longest in the survey’s history.”
As one might expect, the delays are deadly, and are becoming deadlier. Research from Second Street (a think tank that tells “the stories of Canadians from all walks of life and how they’re affected – for better or worse – by government decisions”) found that a record number of Canadians died awaiting care during the country’s 2021-22 fiscal year.
“At least 13,581 patients died while waiting for surgeries, procedures and diagnostic scans,” the report says. “This year’s total is up from last year’s total of 11,581.”
The delays were “anywhere from less than a month to over eight years.” In most instances, “the number of patients who died waiting for a diagnostic scan was significantly higher than the number of patients who died while waiting for surgery.”
This is what happens when the government gives the people it is supposed to protect only two health care choices: They can get by as best as they are able while languishing on a government waiting list for surgery or other medical services; or they can leave the country for care, an option that is not for everyone.
Canada’s medical care arrangement, the model for the system the Democrats want to inflict on the U.S., is such a botch that lawmakers have plans to rework funding “to improve health care across the country.” The better path would be privatization. But there’s no real movement in that direction, even though 61% of the country “believes increased privatization or hybrid models are a ‘necessary evolution’ for optimum care” (28%), or are “curious but hesitant” about loosening the government’s chokehold on care (33%). Only 39% gave privatization a hard “no.” Maybe the morticians’ lobby in Canada has more clout than anyone thought.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board