Our embarrassing health care wait times

- October 28th, 2013

If this chart means anything, it means that Canadians in one part of the country do not have the same access to health care as Canadians in other parts of the country. And that surely means we’re failing on living up to notion of “universal health care”:

Wait times graphic

Source: The Fraser Institute’s 2013 wait times report card, published this morning.

Categories: Health

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11 comments

  1. Elizabeth Green says:

    A couple of years ago I overheard a conversation between 2 gentlemen in which one was complaining about the amount of time it took for his wife to see a specialist. He was worried about her and distraught about an overly long wait time. And where did I hear this conversation – Florida. Canadians tend to think that the American private health system is better but that is not necessarily so. Our American friends pay $850 each per month to get to see a doctor, go to a hospital etc – that’s over $20,000 a year. One of them needed a knee replacement but the insurance company denied her the operation until she was almost a cripple, and her recovery has not gone well. We have also heard presentations in Florida about the lack of ambulance services because the ambulances are tied up at the hospital and cannot leave until they can release the patient, who needs a bed to be released. In fact when an ambulance was called to our park last year, a fire truck showed up as there were no ambulances available. This is familiar to situations in Canada. Last year my husband ended up in hospital in Florida. His test results kept coming back negative so they kept him in hospital and doing more tests. The result was a bill of over $20,000 (paid by our out of province insurance policy) and after all that, they misdiagnosed him. We got the proper diagnosis when we returned home and he saw a neurologist. So, while I think our governments need to deal with wait times and other issues in the system, no system dealing with millions of people is perfect. And at least Canadians do not have to fork over 10′s of thousands of dollars to get a health care.

    • daryl says:

      Yep, every American in the country pays 850 a month for lesser service. If you’re going to base your opinion on anecdotal evidence rather than glaring graphs like the ones in this report, I can offer as many as you want to refute your claims. We pay about $200 a month and a $2k before-tax deductible for a family of 5 for absolutely stellar coverage for health, vision and dental. I could see just about any specialist you can name within a week. I can find a GP anywhere I want for an appointment whenever I can get there. The biggest risk right now is the ACA turning it into what Canada has for far more money.

      You need to decide what you want – health care or health insurance? Then you need to decide how much you’re willing to pay for it. Canada has dictated everyone gets the same health care and you pay nothing (neither of those two are true, but that’s another rant). When demand is infinite and supply is limited, waiting lists and crap service are all that remains. Yes there are issues in the US related to it being insurance, but I would rather address those issues than turn it into Canada’s model.

      • CBROOKE says:

        Interesting anecdote, I pay $86 a paycheck through my company. When I was in college, I only had catastrophic health insurance (which is what a healthy 20 something really needs anyway) and that was $218 a quarter. This was in Washington State.

        There’s a lot of platitudes and banalities on healthcare being slung around here.

    • Kyla says:

      You absolutely fork over large amounts of money for health care in Canada. That money is siphoned out of you wallet through so many taxes that it would be difficult for you to trace the actual amount.

      • Elizabeth Green says:

        Actually, according to public health analysis, the US government spent 23% more per capita on health care than Canadian governments in 2007 (last yr of stats). So our American friends paid more taxes towards health care AND on top of that they got to contribute over $20,000 of their own money on top of their taxes. Based on that info I will gladly pay taxes for a publicly funded system and keep the $20,000 to spend on other things.

    • Fred Bracken says:

      “Our American friends pay $850 each per month to get to see a doctor, go to a hospital etc – that’s over $20,000 a year. ”

      That’s not true. The news today is a lady in Florida was only paying $54 a month, and now Obamacare is upping it to 591 a month.

      The only debate here is whether some politicians in Canada get to control your life, or whether the individual gets to control it him/herself.

      Health care in the USA is cheaper than Canada. Perfect example above.

  2. Beverly says:

    So this is what I will get to look forward to if I ever have a practitioner to call my own. I’m getting enough of a runaround trying to get a doctor for my 14 yr. old daughter and I.. (SHE really needs a doctor). Was told at one of my runaround dead ends that I’ll be looking at a 2-6 month wait for one.. once I’m finally able to register with some healthcareconnect network. Pathetic.

  3. Dianna K. Goneau Inkster says:

    Wouldn’t we do better to prevent illness if we want to reduce wait times? Why is the Government of Ontario cutting the number of blood glucose sticks it will pay for if it truly wants diabetics to keep their blood glucose control within normal limits and avoid expensive complications such as kidney disease, heart disease, eye disease, various nerve-related diseases, etc.? How about promoting breast feeding to possibly avoid type 1 diabetes? Gee! you would never have to see an endo if you are healthy. Other diseases can be prevented as well so let’s get on the ball.

  4. Michael Levac says:

    a wait time does not account for availability to health care. we as a country are lucky to have guaranteed access to healthcare without having to wait in silence for a massive bill to come through the door flap. however, one of the main issues we face in terms of healthcare is the population that submits themselves to hospital unnecessarily, simple cases like a common cold in an otherwise healthy person or the referral from a GP that the physician in question could deal with himself but they are overloaded as well. in ER’s I have seen people with no serious issues come in and sit with people for hours who need immediate attention. the fact of the matter is that there is good sides and bad for universal health plans, but I believe we have the light side of the coin.

  5. markottawa says:

    And what about the senators three bemoaning the possible loss of their supplemental health care benefits if suspended? Is not our cherished universal health care system good enough? Just kidding.

    Mark
    Ottawa

  6. john70 says:

    On the other hand, a recent study said that 1 in 6 specialists cannot find work. It’s ridiculous. And what about the disaster in emergency care? Wait times in ER are huge. Some say that the govts (fed & prov) should pump more money (our money) in this system. Problem is that this is unsustainable. Soon, the provinces would spend almost 100% of their budgets on healthcare. Solution: provincial insurance plans should insure only catastrophic situations (i.e. heart surgery, cancer treatment, other serious illnesses) and for the rest we should use private insurance (as we do for dental, eye and prescription drugs).

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