Tag Archives: Healthcare

New study: Angus Reid Institute analyzes Canada’s single payer healthcare system

Price of healthcare per Canadian household (Source: Fraser Institute)
The cost of healthcare for average Canadian households

I found two interesting studies from Canada’s Angus Reid Institute describing single payer health care in Canada. I’m very interested in find out what things are like in countries that have true government-run health care. A typical Canadian family pays $13,000+ per year per household for healthcare, or about $585,000 over their working lives. What are they getting for all that money?

Here is the first Angus Reid article:

The study finds more than 2 million Canadians aged 55 and older face significant barriers when accessing the health care system in their province, such as being unable to find a family doctor or experiencing lengthy wait-times for surgery, diagnostic tests, or specialist visits.

Moreover, most Canadians in this age group have at least some difficulty getting the care they want or need in a timely manner.

The study focuses on the health care experiences of older Canadians, as well as their assessments of the quality of care they receive.

According to the article, 31% of respondents (aged 55 and older) rated access to the government’s healthcare system as “easy”. 48% had “moderate” problems with access, and 21% had “major” problems with access.

Remember: in the Canadian system, you pay your money up front in taxes, and then they decide how much healthcare you will get later – and how soon you will get it. If you worked from ages 20 to age 65, then your household will have paid 45 x $13,000 = $585,000 into the system, in order to get “moderate” problems with accessing healthcare after you’re aged 55.

And the Canadian system DOES NOT cover prescription drugs.

The second Angus Reid article explains:

This second part of the study finds one-in-six Canadians (17%) in the 55-plus age group – a figure that represents upwards of 1.8 million people – say that they or someone else in their household have taken prescription drugs in a way other than prescribed because of cost.

One-in-ten (10%) have decided to simply not fill a prescription because it was too expensive, and a similar number (9%) have decided not to renew one for the same reason. One-in-eight (12%) have taken steps to stretch their prescriptions, such as cutting pills or skipping doses.

Some 17 per cent of Canadians 55 and older have done at least one of these things, and that proportion rises among those who have greater difficulty accessing other aspects of the health care system.

In a previous blog post, I reported on how Canadians have to wait in order to see their GP doctor. If that doctor refers them to a specialist, then they have to wait to see the specialist. And if that specialist schedules surgery, then they have to wait for their surgery appointment. The delays can easily go from weeks to months and even years. The MEDIAN delay from GP referral to treatment is 19.5 weeks.

But remember – they paid into the system FIRST. The decisions about when and if they will be treated are made later, by experts in the government. This is what it means for a government monopoly to run health care. There are no free exchanges of money for service in a competitive free market. Costs are controlled by delaying and withholding treatment. And no one knows this better than elderly Canadians themselves. But by the time they realize how badly they’ve been swindled, it’s too late to get their money back out. You can’t pull your tax money out of government if you are disappointed with the service you receive. There are no refunds. There are no returns.

UK police threatens those who disagree with NHS starvation of sick child #AlfieEvans

UK Police enforces the decrees of the government-run NHS
UK Police threatens anyone who dares express disagreement with the NHS

By now, everyone has heard about how an NHS hospital has essentially kidnapped a sick child from his parents, and they are trying to kill the (born) child through asphyxiation, starvation and dehydration. And it’s being performed by the government against the will of the child’s parents.

The parents want the child back so that they can take the child to a country that has modern healthcare facilities and skilled, moral medical personnel. Italy has volunteered to provide these things, and has even sent an air ambulance to transport the child. But the NHS instead wants to kill the child, because they have decreed that the child is unfit to live, i.e. – “life unworthy of life“.

The judge who initially ruled against the parents of little Alfie previously ruled that a patient in a minimally conscious state be starved to death, according to Life Site News. The appeals court judge also ruled against the child because the parents were hostile to the NHS. So, the NHS can’t release the child because his parents are “hostile to the NHS” after the NHS kidnapped and starved their child. This is the kind of legal reasoning that you can expect from the judges in the UK.

Government-run healthcare in practice

In the UK, the government runs a massive health care delivery system called the NHS. The NHS takes your money through taxes and then decide how to spend it according to their own priorities. The less they spend on healthcare, the more they can pay themselves in salary, benefits and pensions. Naturally, it’s very tempting for the NHS to kill their patients in order to cut costs and reduce their workload.

The NHS administration actually pays NHS hospitals “bounties” if the hospitals kill more patients by withdrawing treatment.

The UK Telegraph explains:

Hospitals are being paid millions of pounds to reach targets for the number of patients put on a controversial pathway for the withdrawal of life-saving treatment, according to data based on Freedom of Information requests.

The NHS regularly starves patients to death. Health care is a lot of work, and this is government. Would you go to the Post Office for health care? That’s what people are doing when they go to the NHS.

The priorities of the UK police

The UK police tweeted that they are busy monitoring Twitter for speech critical of the NHS. You might think that they have better things to do, like cracking down on sex-trafficking of underage British girls which happens in many, many UK cities. But it’s not politically correct to enforce laws against underage sex-trafficking, because it makes the UK’s far-left immigration policies look bad.

The UK Telegraph explains what happened in the most recent underage sex-trafficking case:

The newspaper’s probe alleges that social workers were aware of the abuse in the 1990s, but that it took police a decade to  launch Operation Chalice, an inquiry into child prostitution in the Telford area in which seven men were jailed.

It is also claimed that abused and trafficked children were considered “prostitutes” by council staff, that authorities did not keep details of abusers from Asian communities for fear of being accused of “racism” and that police failed to investigate one recent case five times until an MP intervened.

In several other underage sex-trafficking cases, the police also failed to act because it was not politically correct.

The UK police also thought that it was a good idea to arrest a 78-year-old pensioner for defending himself against a burglar who invaded his own home. That’s law enforcement, UK-style.

What does the NHS do instead of healthcare?

Here is an example of what the UK spends health care money on instead of spending it on sick children:

Josie Cunningham checked into a clinic last week to get rid of her unborn child, enabling her to create the face she believes she needs to be a porn and glamour model.

A series of doctors had told her the cosmetic surgery was too risky.

Josie, who terminated the unplanned pregnancy at 12 weeks, told the Sunday People: “I’m having this nose job no matter what gets in my way.

“Pregnancy was a major obstacle and an abortion was the answer to it – so that’s what I did.

[…]She had a £4,800 boob job and botox on the NHS, smoked and boozed while pregnant and ­admitted she had planned to abort her youngest child ­because she had a chance of going on Big Brother.

When government takes over control of healthcare, their ambition is simple. How can we use the money we are collecting for health care to buy votes from the voters so that we can get elected? A sick little child is useless to them, but an escort who wants to be a porn star has great value. She can vote for higher taxes, more government and better salary, benefits and pensions for the NHS employees. So, what she needs is therefore called “health care”. But what the parents of a sick child wants is not health care.

That’s what it means to go to a single payer system. You pay all your money to the government in taxes, and then they decide how to spend it to achieve their goals of buying votes and winning re-election. If you need an abortion, a sex change, breast enlargements, botox, or IVF for single women who can’t be bothered to marry, then the NHS has “health care” to trade for your vote. But if you have a sick child, then you are out of luck.

Fortunately for the NHS, their screw-ups can apparently be covered up by the judges and by the police. No American could accept such restrictions on liberty, security and prosperity. We are not slaves.

The Alfie Evans story might make you recall last year, when the NHS killed a sick child named Charlie Gard. This is not a rare occurence. I have covered literally dozens of NHS horror stories over the past 9 years. You can take a look at some of them here. The conditions in NHS hospitals are absolutely appalling, and the people who work there are lazy and incompetent. The politicians, administrators, judges and police all work together to cover up the failures, so that they can keep giving themselves exorbitant salaries, benefits and pensions at taxpayer expense.

Is Bernie Sanders correct to say that Canada has better, lower-cost health care?

Wall Street Journal calculates cost of Sanders spending plan
Wall Street Journal calculates cost of Sanders spending plan

He seems to be really passionate about raising taxes on working families, and then giving them “free” health care in return. Let’s see how that’s working out in Canada, where they do have a single-payer health care system.

The Washington Free Beacon reports:

Waiting times for medically necessary health care services under Canada’s single-payer system have hit a record high, according to a report from the Fraser Institute.

[…]The Fraser Institute found that patients under Canada’s single-payer system this year waited an average of 10.9 weeks—roughly two-and-a-half months—from the time they had a consultation with a specialist to the time at which they received treatment. Physicians consider 7.2 weeks to be a clinically reasonable wait time.

The report also found that patients’ wait for treatment after referral to a specialist by their general practitioner was 21.2 weeks, or longer than four months.

“This year’s wait time—the longest ever recorded in this survey’s history—is 128 percent longer than in 1993, when it was just 9.3 weeks,” the report states.

The report, which looks at 10 provinces in Canada, found that there are 1,040,791 patients waiting for procedures. There are also high wait times to receive scans and ultrasounds. Patients waited an average of 10.8 weeks for an MRI scan and 3.9 weeks for an ultrasound.

“Research has repeatedly indicated that wait times for medically necessary treatment are not benign inconveniences,” the report states. “Wait times can, and do, have serious consequences such as increased pain, suffering, and mental anguish.”

According to the report, patients experience long wait times for surgeries, waiting as long as 41.7 weeks for orthopedic surgery, 32.9 weeks for neurosurgery, and 31.4 weeks for ophthalmology.

“In certain instances, [wait times] can also result in poorer medical outcomes—transforming potentially reversible illnesses or injuries into chronic, irreversible conditions, or even permanent disabilities,” the report states. “In many instances, patients may also have to forgo their wages while they wait for treatment, resulting in an economic cost to the individuals themselves and the economy in general.”

Fraser points out that previous studies have found the lost economic output in waiting for joint replacement surgery, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, MRI scans, and cataract surgery totaled $14.8 billion in 2007.

The report also notes that 46.3 percent of patients would prefer to have their procedure performed within a week if they had the opportunity to do so.

The article also quotes Sally C. Pipes, a Canadian health care expert who knows how much Canadian taxpayers pay for “free” health care.

Pipes also refutes Sanders’s claim that Canada’s system offers relatively the same quality of care at a cheaper cost.

“It isn’t cheaper because Canadians pay for health care through their taxes,” Pipes explains. “The average Canadian family pays anywhere between $4,000 and $12,000 a year in taxes for a system where they have to wait over five months from seeing a primary care doctor to getting treatment by a specialist.”

“There’s fewer doctors relative to the population than in all but four other industrialized countries,” she said. “It’s last in terms of acute care hospital beds and there’s doctor shortages, residency spots are down, and waiting times—this is what happens when government controls the health care system, and this is what Bernie Sanders wants for the United States.”

Canadians are also paid less than Americans. Why? Because Canadian employers have to pay a percentage of their employee’s salary to the government for health care. Obviously, the employers are going to take that out of their employee’s salary without telling them.

Finally, it should be obvious that progressive Canadian politicians go South when they’re sick for healthcare. They know that when health care is free, you get the quality you’re paying for.

One thing you need to understand is that if you put health care in the hands of politicians, they they will use it for vote-buying, like they do with any government-run social program. So, if you are young and want an abortion or a sex change, you’re in luck. Because you have a lot of voting ahead of you, and they want to keep you happy with big government. But, if you’re old, and don’t have so much voting left to do, you’re expendable. That’s why countries with big government health care, like the Netherlands and Canada and the UK are always tinkering with euthanasia for the elderly.

Americans finding out the true costs of Obamacare

The Daily Caller has a sobering article about the true costs of Obamacare.

Excerpt:

Millions of Americans are receiving double-digit premium hikes. For many people under 30, their health insurance premiums are going up much more — by as much as 189 percent. What happened to candidate Barack Obama’s 2008 promise that every family’s health care costs would go down by $2,500 by the end of his first term? (Costs actually went up by $3,000.)

The Congressional Budget Office projects Obamacare will cost tens of billions more over the next decade than the agency projected just three years ago. Those increases were not budgeted for, and will add to massive deficits.

So much for the promise that the law “will not add one dime to the deficit.”

Millions of workers at places like Wendy’s and Olive Garden are now being preemptively reclassified as part-time, and an estimated 7 million to 20 million employees face the loss of workplace health benefits altogether.

So much for the oft-heard promise that “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”

[…]Seniors were assured that the new system wouldn’t affect their benefits, despite Obamacare’s $716 billion in ten-year cuts to Medicare (to help pay for the new entitlement).

That promise was broken recently, when the Medicare agency issued surprise regulations cutting Medicare even more deeply than Congress had directed — cuts that target a popular and very successful part of Medicare, one that actually features consumer choice and competition, namely, Medicare Advantage (MA).

Seniors who opt into MA enjoy greater care coordination, disease management for chronic conditions, and on-call nurses available by phone. Those extra services — which in some cases mean the difference between life and death — are now slated for the chopping-block.

Rosemarie Battaglia will be among the millions of victims of these new regulations, which beginning April 1 will effectively shave MA plan payments by about 2 percentage points. On top of prior cuts enacted in Obamacare, that spells an 8 percent cut next year — a level higher than the profit margins for these plans.

Actuarial experts at the American Action Forum predict the cuts will cause between 2 and 5 million seniors to lose their MA benefits, and that MA recipients face health care cost increases averaging $2,235 a year.

When a President makes promises about economic policy, we shouldn’t believe him unless we have reasons to believe that he understands business and economics. We had no reason to believe that Obama understood economics. And, when given the reins of the economy, he’s proven that. Instead of electing people who sound nice in speeches, we should be electing people who have shown that they know how to solve the problems we’re facing in the economy. A track record of success at creating jobs, reducing the costs of health care, improving health care quality and choice, etc. should have counted for more than rhetoric. We chose the rhetoric and now we’re getting the screws.

Related posts

Can we fix poverty by redistributing money, or is the problem something else?

This little blurb by a doctor is making the rounds on Facebook:

Dear Mr. President:

During my shift in the Emergency Room last night, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient whose smile revealed an expensive Shiny gold tooth, whose body was adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos, who wore a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and who chatted on a new cellular telephone equipped with a popular R&B ringtone.

While glancing over her Patient chart, I happened to notice that her payer status was listed as “Medicaid”! During my examination of her, the patient informed me that she smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and somehow still has money to buy pretzels and beer.

And, you and our Congress expect me to pay for this woman’s health care?

I contend that our nation’s “health care crisis” is not the result of a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. Rather, it is the result of a “crisis of culture”, a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on luxuries and vices while refusing to take care of one’s self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance.

It is a culture based on the irresponsible credo that “I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me”. Once you fix this “culture crisis” that rewards irresponsibility and dependency, you’ll be amazed at how quickly our nation’s health care difficulties will disappear.

Respectfully,
STARNER JONES, MD

My first reaction to this thing was HOAX, but Snopes says it’s not a hoax. In fact, it was a letter published in a newspaper.

And there was even a follow-up letter by the same doctor:

I continue to receive numerous phone calls, letters, emails and face-to-face comments about my letter (“Why Pay For the Care of the Careless”) which appeared in your newspaper a few months ago.

Most people express highest approval for the opinion set forth. Indeed, the truth has an illuminating quality all its own.

However, a few have disagreed and all of them falsely assume that a person who holds the views which I espouse must have been raised in a privileged home. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I grew up in a lower middle class, single parent home in the rural hill country of Pontotoc, Mississippi. While attending public schools, I paid attention in class and did my homework. I ran with the right crowd and stayed out of trouble. My dedication in school resulted in a full-paid scholarship to the prestigious University of the South in Sewanee, TN. After college, I left to go to medical school with everything I owned in three bags. The rest is history.

Motivation, not entitlement, is the key to personal success and happiness in life.

The fact of the matter is that it is often people who have come out of poverty themselves who most disagree with those who want to keep people in poverty by subsidizing their poor decision making. I come from a background where my parents were immigrants and my father worked 3 jobs and my mother worked one. We saw people around us who were poor like us, making these irresponsible spending decisions and they were encouraged to persist in it by welfare programs like Medicaid. They were getting tens of thousands of dollars in benefits, and they would lose those benefits if they worked their way out of poverty.

The fact of the matter is that we are doing the able-bodied non-working poor no favors by allowing them to persist in the worldview of poverty, which is encourages dependence, recklessness, consumption and waste. Eventually, the state runs out of other people’s money to subsidize the able-bodied non-working poor in their perpetual childhood, and then where will they be? We are already $16.5 trillion in debt, and this level of welfare spending is not sustainable. Eventually, they will have to fend for themselves. We will be leaving them uneducated, with no resume, and a host of addictions ranging from the lottery and cigarettes up to drugs and alcohol.

Instead of fretting over feelings, and worrying about being judgmental, we should be fretting about enacting policies that promote marriage, school choice, entrepreneurship, work and so on. Strengthening the family and rewarding hard work. If the concern is that health care costs too much, there are ways to lower the cost of health care with market-oriented reforms. We should be studying the economics of health care and promoting consumer choice, ownership and competition among health care providers. Government is not the answer.

I really recommend that everyone read a book by British doctor Theodore Dalrymple, who gives a close-up view of what government programs actually do to the people we would all like to help. I have linked to all the chapters here, so there is no excuse not to read it and get informed. Then we can read other books on consumer-driven health care in order to learn about how to reduce the cost of health care without growing government.