Monday, October 24th, 2016

Reality Check on Canadian Health Care


The Globe and Mail newspaper is featuring a series of articles on Canadian health care. I find the online comments to these articles most interesting. Many people are defending our current health care system based on the political promises of Medicare and not the realities facing Canadian patients.

Here’s a quick reality check:

Equal access based on need – The fact that some citizens are exempt from the Canada Health Act and therefore able to bypass health care queues makes equal access based on need a moot claim. Also, if your medical condition or required treatment doesn’t fall into one of the government’s current priority areas, then it seems your needs don’t matter as much.

Medicare covers everything – People still believe that our public health care system will cover all of their medical needs. Medicare coverage largely depends on where you live, your medical condition and what treatment options are available through your provincial government health insurance plan. If you want cutting-edge treatment options you may need to leave your province or the country.

Few Canadians go bankrupt due to medical bills – Many Canadian patients are forced to use cash savings, take a second mortgage on their house or borrow money to help finance medical care or receive treatment options not available under Medicare. We just don’t hear about it in the news.

Private health care will take doctors away from the public system – Many of our best and brightest doctors have already left the public system. A majority of them leave the country because they need to have the tools and time to hone their skills and become leaders in their respective fields. Our public health care system and its funding woes place limits on the number of OR hours, surgeries, access to updated technology and equipment and recognition of individual performance. More private health care options may encourage our doctors to stay here or better yet, encourage those abroad to come back home.

Private health care only benefits those who can afford it – How is the situation of a poor patient made any better by prohibiting all patients from using their own money to pay for private health care?

Profit has no place in health care – The whole notion that profit has no place in health care is ridiculous and ranks right up there with our health care is free. It takes years and millions of dollars to research and develop new medical devices, technologies and pharmaceuticals. Without the opportunity to make a profit from these discoveries there is little incentive to continue making them. The pursuit of profit helps to drive innovation and excellence in health care. Limiting this pursuit in Canada has resulted in the dysfunctional health care system we have today.

Canadians have free health care – Why do people still believe we have free health care? We don’t. We pay the government taxes and they decide what type of health care our money will buy for us.


3 Responses to “Reality Check on Canadian Health Care”
  1. Karen King says:

    As the mother of a 7 year old boy with a rare disease called SAPHO Syndrome living in Newfoundland, there is so much that I could say that would enlighten the public on our so called “free” health care. My son is the only child here with his disease so he does not fall into any category that exists for his treatment. Which also means there is no specialists in my province that is trained to oversee all of his health issues. This means that he has to be taken out of the Country for treatment but our government will not help with that cost because SAPHO Syndrome does not apply to any of their categories. I have been fighting the system for over 2 years now and every time I think that they are about to help us, they disappear and stop responding to my messages.
    I wish that the Globe and Mail would contact me so that I could educate them on our so called great, free health care. It seems that this article may have been written without the proper investigation.

    • admin says:

      Your family’s experience with our health care system confirms the problems many Canadians face when trying to access medical treatment and coverage. Thank you for sharing your story with us and helping to inform others about the realities of Canadian health care.

    • Kartik says:

      I sympathize with you! There are too many people across this country waiting for diagnostic tests and life saving (as well as life enhancing) surgery across this country. Canada has become notorious for waiting time deaths. We love to demonize the US but we’re not above taking full advantage of their system’s strengths.

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