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Canadian Healthcare Rated The Worst in “Wait Times “


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ottawa Canada, if you are not feeling well better put off that move to Canada . According to the U.S.-based Commonwealth Fund, in conjunction with the Canadian Institute of Health Information, just published the results of their health policy survey of adults in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The results indicate that Canada is not just lagging, but dead last when it comes to indicators of timely access to health care.

Here’s a sample of our most spectacular failures:
Ability to get a same or next-day appointment when sick: worst
Ability to get after-hours care (without resorting to visiting an emergency department): second-worst
Wait for treatment in the emergency department: worst
Wait to see a specialist: worst
Wait for elective surgery: worst

Of course, the fact that Canadians face significant wait times for treatment may come as a surprise  to many Americans who read daily of the virtues of Canadian Healthcare.

The Fraser Institute’s annual wait times survey. Last year physicians reported that their patients in Canada waited longer, on average, than they ever had in the survey’s 26-year history. Importantly, they also reported that patients are waiting longer than what they (the physicians) consider to be clinically reasonable.

While Canadian patients suffer the reality of long delays, which may lead to deteriorating and irreversible harm.  Is it a small price to pay for universal health care ? A quick glance at the countries included in the Commonwealth Fund’s survey reveals that Canada’s failure is not intrinsic to universal health care.

Every country examined (except the U.S.) has a universal health-care system that ensures access to treatment regardless of ability to pay. They just do it differently. Most of these countries generally allow the private sector to provide core health-care insurance and services, require patients to share in the cost of treatment, and fund hospitals based on activity (rather than the global budgets that are the norm in Canada).

In the Netherlands, the top performer in-terms of ability to get a same/next day appoint and after hours care, individuals must purchase a standard insurance package from private insurers in a regulated, but competitive, market. A for-profit company is the market leader.

In France, the top performer in terms of wait times in the emergency department, universally accessible hospital care is delivered by public, not-for-profit and for-profit hospitals. In fact, about one-third of all hospitals in the country operate on a for-profit basis.

Switzerland, the top performer in terms of wait times to see a specialist, ensures universality in an environment of managed competition among insurance companies and providers of health care. Like most other countries, cost-sharing is a central feature of the Swiss system. Individuals are expected to pay a deductible before insurance kicks-in, after which a 10-20 per cent co-insurance rate applies up to an annual maximum, after which all expenses are covered.

In Germany, the top performer in terms of wait times for elective surgery, individuals can generally use social/statutory (SHI) or private (PHI) insurance to access public or private hospital care. Although 42 per cent of all hospitals operate on a for-profit basis, almost all hospital beds in the country are accessible to patients with SHI-coverage.

Whether it’s the Commonwealth Fund most recent report or the Fraser Institute’s annual wait times survey, the evidence is clear. Canadian’s wait far too long for treatment—compared to 26 years ago, compared to what doctors consider reasonable, and compared to other countries with universal health care.

14 thoughts on “Canadian Healthcare Rated The Worst in “Wait Times “

  1. yeah, but if they like their doctor they can ….

  2. Of course once you’re “in the system” the treatment is excellent… and Canada has far better health outcomes than the US, not to mention longer lifespans, and less stress related to healthcare costs or personal bankruptcies from illness. The US is the only developed country without universal healthcare despite spending 17% of GDP on healthcare compared to the next highest country at 11%. Not getting your money’s worth!

  3. I know many people in Canada and the health system is nowhere near the United States. Don’t let anybody give you some kind of bullshit story. They get the runaround they have to get approval believe me it’s not all cracked up to be in Canada. And they pay a lot of money in taxes.

  4. Canada life expectancy 82.3 years, Japan 84 years, and Australia & Norway 82.5 years vs. US 78.7 years (source: 2016 World Bank data). All of those countries apart from Japan rank ahead of the US in the World Happiness Report 2018 (source: )… y’all can complain all you like about universal healthcare, but it drives better long term health outcomes for developed societies. Even Trump acolytes acknowledge this people, it’s no longer a debate. The ACA is established law.

    1. Canadian Healthcare is total sh$t , all the Canadian politicians come to the US for care, (FYI my family Life expectancy is 98 )

  5. Maybe those platinum healthcare plans for the 1% and the active & retired teachers, police & fire fighters and NJEA/PFRS union cabal that is killing NJ’s economy are great, I’m not questioning that. I’m talking about for society as a whole. The Obamacare boat already sailed James!

    1. Obamacare is a tax , not healthcare

  6. Whatevs James!

  7. Canadian health system is very poor at treating cancer. It’s a Fact

  8. Life expectancy has more to do with lifestyle choices.

  9. I was told years ago that all of the parking spaces in hospital in the region of Syracuse, NY are filled with cars with Canadian license plates. Thank you Barry.

  10. And while we’re on the subject most genetic illness (childhood diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer, etc.) are truly pre-existing conditions. Liver failure from alcoholism, lung cancer from smoking and any variety of illness from over-eating? Not so much.

  11. am i the only one who sees the minnesota state seal on the flag?

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