Tag Archives: Medicare for All

Canada’s single payer health care: pay up front, take a number and wait until you die

Price of healthcare per Canadian household (Source: Fraser Institute)
Price of healthcare per Canadian household (Source: Fraser Institute)

I post a lot of research from Canada’s Fraser Institute, but they are not the only think tank that publishes research on the efficiency and costs of single payer health care in Canada. This time, I found a report from the Heritage Foundation, where they go over quality of care, taxes, out of pocket costs, coverage, rationing, waiting lists, staff shortages, substandard equipment, and outdated drugs.

Here’s the report from the Heritage Foundation. I’ll focus on the differences.

Canadians pay slightly less in out of pocket costs:

The OECD calculates that Canadians spend 1.6 percent of GDP on out-of-pocket health spending, compared to 1.9 percent in the U.S.

[…]While these numbers are very close, they are actually getting closer. Since 1970, U.S. out-of-pocket spending as a percentage of total medical spending has been falling steadily, from 33 percent in 1970 to about 10 percent in 2017.19

Meanwhile, Canadian out-of-pocket spending has been falling much slower, so that by 2016 it totaled 15 percent of total medical spending—a higher proportion than in the U.S.20

 As a result, Statistics Canada warned in early 2020 that the percentage of Canadians experiencing large out-of-pocket burdens is growing, writing that “[b]etween 1998 and 2009…the percentage of households spending more than 10% of their total after-tax income on health care rose by 56%.”

Canadians pay more in federal and state taxes:

Federal taxation excluding social security contributions, then, comes to 28 percent of GDP in Canada, compared to just 19 percent in the U.S.—meaning 51 percent more.

[…]This excess taxation is largely a result of health spending, which has bloated provincial budgets to nearly three times the taxes of U.S. states.

Provincial taxes have grown to nearly the same level as federal taxation. Meanwhile, provincial health costs have risen to fully 37 percent of provincial budgets in 2016—up from 33 percent in 1993 – —and range as high as 42 percent.

Canada’s Fraser Institute has estimated this excess tax burden from public health costs at roughly $9,000 for a household of two adults with or without children or $750 per month in additional taxes.

When I wanted an MRI I was scheduled the same week
When I wanted an MRI I was scheduled the same week

Canadians wait far longer for treatment than Americans:

Medical waiting times have become a national crisis in Canada, and continue to worsen. The average wait time for medically necessary treatment between referral from a general practitioner and a consultation with a specialist was 8.7 weeks in 2018, 136 percent longer than in 1993. Patients then have to wait again between seeing the specialist and the actual treatment, another 11 weeks on average, 97 percent longer than in 1993.

From referral to treatment, then, it takes an average of 19.8 weeks (see Chart 2) to be treated, in addition to the original wait to see the family doctor in the first place—this for “medically necessary” treatment, not cosmetic surgery.

In contrast, nearly 77 percent of Americans are treated within four weeks of referral, and only 6 percent of Americans report waiting more than two months to see a specialist.

As for appointments, a 2017 survey of American physicians in the 15 largest U.S. cities found that it took just 24 days on average to schedule a new-patient physician appointment, including 11 days for an orthopedic surgeon and 21 days for a cardiologist.

As a result of these long waits, by one recent estimate, at any given moment, over one million Canadians—3 percent of the entire population—are waiting for a medical treatment.

These lists can average six months, and often much longer in rural areas, which tend to suffer from doctor shortages so severe that many do not even have a family doctor. Overall, 15 percent of Canadians did not have a regular health care provider in 2017.

The shortages ripple through the system; one doctor in Ontario called in a referral to the local hospital, only to be told there was a four-and-a-half year wait to see a neurologist.

In Canada, people die or become inoperable on waiting lists:

A Montreal man was finally called for his long-delayed urgent surgery two months after he had died. One 16-year-old boy in British Columbia waited three years for an “urgent” surgery, during which time his condition deteriorated so much that he became a paraplegic.

Canadians have to travel abroad to countries with functioning health care systems in order to be treated:

These cases are, unfortunately, not isolated; a survey of specialists found that average wait times exceed what is deemed clinically “reasonable” for fully 72 percent of conditions in Canada. The situation continues to worsen every year: In 1994, the average gap between clinically reasonable delay and actual delay was only four days, and by 2018 had grown to 23 days.

[…]With one million waiting, many Canadians turn in desperation to U.S. health care—the very system some U.S. policymakers propose to transform. In 2017 alone, Canadians made 217,500 trips to other countries for health care, of which 52,500 were to the U.S., paying out of pocket to skip the waiting.

Outdated equipment, outdated drugs, staff shortages:

 While the average employer-sponsored private insurance plan in Canada covers between 10,000 and 12,000 drugs, most public plans in Canada only cover 4,000. Canada has 35 percent fewer acute care beds than the U.S., and only one-fourth as many magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) units per capita—indeed, it has fewer MRI units per capita than Turkey, Chile, or Latvia.

[…]Some common treatments are simply unavailable to Canadians. For new pharmaceuticals, for example, Canada’s policy of forcing down prices so that American consumers essentially pay for Canada’s research and development has led to years-long delays for Canadian patients.

[…]Cutting corners on facilities and using outdated drugs show up in Canadian mortality rates. Thirty-day in-hospital mortality rates in Canada are 20 percent higher than in the U.S. for heart attacks, and nearly three times the U.S. level for strokes. Cancer age-standardized mortality is 10 percent higher in Canada than in the U.S.—despite far healthier lifestyles.

[…]When it comes to personnel, Canada underspends on medical staff and doctors, ranking 29th out of 33 among high-income countries for doctors per 1,000 population, accounting for a large part of those wait times. Canada has half as many specialist physicians per capita as the U.S.

[…]With such shortages and waiting lists, Canadian emergency rooms are packed. So packed that Canadians sometimes just give up and go home. Of Canadian ER visitors who are seen, 29 percent report wait times of over four hours, three times the U.S. level.

[…]Canadian seniors are 65 percent more likely to have visited the emergency room (ER) four or more times in the past year than American seniors.

Ultimately, nearly 5 percent of Canadian ER visitors end up leaving without ever being treated, giving up on a medical system that is perennially “free” but out of stock at the moment. In one study at two ERs in Alberta, 14 of the 498 walkaways were subsequently hospitalized, and one died within the week.

And keep in mind how things work in a single payer system. You pay up front through your taxes. The harder you work, the more you pay into the system. When you want treatment, you just get in line behind people who never paid one dime into the system – like all those low-skill refugees that Canada imports from Middle Eastern countries to build up the socialist voting bloc.

Voting rights for terrorists and rapists, death penalty for unborn babies up to 9 months

Boston Marathon terrorist about to place bomb behind 8-year-old child

Wow. It seems to me that the Democrats had a pretty good chance of competing against Trump in the 2020 election, with their presumed nominee, Bernie Sanders. He’s wildly popular with young people. He’s raising tons of money from rich progressives. All Bernie has to do is just not say anything crazy, and he’ll be competitive. Unfortunately, he can’t control himself.

Here’s a report from the radically-leftist Boston Herald:

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders says the right to vote should extend to those in jail — even the Boston Marathon bomber.

“If somebody commits a serious crime — sexual assault, murder — they’re going to be punished,” Sanders said in his CNN town hall talk Monday night. But, “I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy. Yes, even for terrible people.”

The majority of convicted criminals would vote Democrat if they could, because Democrats are less strict on crime than Republicans. Democrats are always looking to allow more people who will vote Democrat to vote. They want to lower the voting age, because young people who don’t pay taxes naturally vote for free stuff. And they also want to import low-skilled immigrants and put them on a path to citizenship. Low-skilled immigrants pay less into the system than they use in education, health care, etc. They also vote Democrat.

Medicare for All

Bernie also has a long list of big spending programs, because he thinks that $22 trillion in debt and trillion dollar deficits is no big deal. But the truth is, we’re already out of money for the big social welfare programs that Democrats already passed. We certainly don’t have money for any new ones.

Far-left CBS News explains:

Social Security is on a path to become insolvent in 2035, with only enough money cover about 80 percent of its obligations.

Medicare would become insolvent even sooner, by 2026, if no changes are made to payroll taxes or how health providers are paid.

[…][M]any Democratic presidential candidates are calling for expanding Medicare benefits — even proposing “Medicare for All” — rather than addressing the program’s worsening finances.

How will Democrats pay for MORE spending when we can’t pay for the spending we already have? Tax increases won’t be enough, so they’ll have to nationalize private 401K retirement plans like other socialist nations have.

And what about Medicare for All? Well, they can just seize the money that’s being used to buy private health insurance now, and put everyone into a government-run single payer system. That’s what happens in Canada right now. People who pay taxes pay for the all the costs, but they still have to get in line behind those who don’t pay anything in taxes. The average cost (to middle-class taxpayers) is about $11,000 per year. That’s a lot more than people pay for private health insurance which delivers higher quality care. But the costs are higher for less quality, because the people who pay into the system are covering the people who don’t pay.

And remember, abortion through all nine months of pregnancy is taxpayer-funded in Canada’s single payer system. Pro-life taxpayers subsidize abortions. If you don’t like it, you can leave the country.

Infanticide

All of the Democrat presidential candidates support infanticide, according to this article from The Stream:

 On February 25, 44 Democrat senators, including all 6 declared presidential candidates, voted against the Born Alive Protection Act. Put another way, they voted for infanticide.

New candidate Pete Buttigieg is also in favor of infanticide: abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.

If you’re voting for a Democrat in 2020, then you’re going to get infanticide if they win. No use complaining later that you’re pro-life if you support the killing of viable unborn children who survive botched abortions.

Raising the minimum wage

Another policy supported by many Democrats is raising federal minimum wage rates.

Let’s take a look at a study reported  in the Daily Caller:

California’s minimum wage increase has cost the state thousands of jobs worth of growth in the state’s booming restaurant industry, according to a recent study by the University of California Riverside.

California passed a bill in 2016 to bring the state’s minimum wage up to $15 an hour. For businesses with more than 25 employees, the state’s minimum wage rose to $12 in January and will hit $15 in January of 2022. Other businesses have until 2023 before the full $15-an-hour minimum takes effect.

[…]Researchers also found that the minimum wage slowed growth more in low-income areas.

[…]Researchers estimate that the minimum wage increases will cost the state roughly 30,000 jobs from 2017 to 2022.

If you force businesses to pay workers more, them employers are left with no choice but to lay off workers, or cut hours.

Minimum wage jobs are entry level jobs. They’re not meant to allow people to buy a house, have children, or travel the world on private jets. People get them in order to get something on their resumes so that they can move up to more challenging jobs that pay more. If a person doesn’t want to move up to a more challenging job that pays more, then they shouldn’t be complaining that they can’t make the same life choices as software engineers, nurses and electricians. Jobs don’t all pay the same, because some are harder than others.

If voters chose candidates based on whether their policies would actually work to prevent poverty, they would never vote for Democrats. But so many people in America don’t vote based on what results policies will achieve. They vote in order to feel something about themselves. Transferring wealth from “rich” employers to “poor” minimum wage workers feels good. So they vote for it. And when those workers are laid off, they don’t care because they’ve already stopped paying attention.

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.

Elizabeth Warren’s health care plan: how much will it cost, how much will your taxes rise?

Elizabeth Warren seems to be the likely Democrat nominee, so it it makes sense for us to take a look at her policy proposals and count the cost. Her signature proposal is a plan to outlaw private health insurance and move everyone to government-run health care, paid for though mandatory taxation. How much will that cost, and how much will the taxes on the middle class go up in order to pay for it?

Before we go too far with that, take a look at the budget numbers. I got these from the web site of the Democrats in the House of Representatives:

The 2019 federal budget, according to House Democrats
The 2019 federal budget, according to House Democrats

According to the House Democrats budget web site, the 2019 federal budget has $3.451 trillion in revenue, $4.411 trillion in spending, for an annual deficit of $-960 billion. And keep in mind that we are $23 trillion in debt already. This would be like saying that your annual income is $34, 510. You’re spending $44, 110 per year. You are adding $9,600 to your debt every year. And you are already $230,000 in debt (and paying interest on that).

In other words, America is in no position to be spending more money. We’re already in debt, and adding to the debt each year. So how much more money would you have to spend for Elizabeth Warren’s health care plan?

For months, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D—Mass.) has hedged on the question of whether she would raise middle class taxes to pay for Medicare for All, the single-payer health care plan she says she supports. Warren has stuck with a talking point about total costs, saying that the middle class would pay less, while critics, political rivals, and even liberal economists friendly to single payer have argued that the enormous additional government spending required by such a plan would inevitably hit the middle class.

Today, Warren released a plan to finance Medicare for All at a total price tag of nearly $52 trillion, including about $20 trillion of new government spending (an estimate that is probably low). Although her plan declares that no middle-class taxes will be necessary to finance the system, it includes what is effectively a new tax on employers that would undoubtedly hit middle-class Americans.

So , Warren admits that the total cost of her plan is $52 trillion over 10 years. Warren needs to come up with $5.2 trillion per year to pay for her plan. Is there that much money available by taxing only the wealthy?

The wealthiest Americans don’t have enough money to cover even $2 trillion in additional spending – assuming they continue to work in America as much as they did before the government took MOST of their earnings:

CRFB reinforced their prior work indicating that taxes on “the rich” could at best fund about one-third of the cost of single payer. Their proposals include $2 trillion in revenue from raising tax rates on the affluent, another $2 trillion from phasing out tax incentives for the wealthy, another $2 trillion from doubling corporate income taxes, $3 trillion from wealth taxes, and $1 trillion from taxes on financial transactions and institutions.

Several of the proposals CRFB analyzed would raise tax rates on the wealthiest households above 60 percent. At these rates, economists suggest that individuals would reduce their income and cut back on work, because they do not see the point in generating additional income if government will take 70 (or 80, or 90) cents on every additional dollar earned. While taxing “the rich” might sound publicly appealing, at a certain point it becomes a self-defeating proposition—and several proposals CRFB vetted would meet, or exceed, that point.

So, Warren is going to have to lean on the middle class for the remaining $3.2 trillion, even if the rich hold still while the government takes 70-90 percent of what they earn. (Unlikely)

Warren likes to tell everyone that her plan will make costs go down. I guess she thinks that government oversight of health care will be more efficient than private sector oversight of health care. Maybe she believes that people in government are more careful about spending taxpayer money than people in private businesses are about spending their own money? In any case, studies from centrist and center-left think tanks disagree with Warren:

Warren and her defenders will likely try to shift the discussion back to total costs, but that’s just a way of repeating the dodge that has dogged her campaign for much of the year. Warren will no doubt claim that costs would go down under her plan, but there are reasons to doubt this, including an analysis from health care economist Kenneth Thorpe finding that under a Sanders-style plan, more than 70 percent of people who currently have private insurance would see costs increase, as well as an Urban Institute analysis projecting that single-payer plans would raise national health care spending by $7 trillion over a decade.

All we have right now to weight against these studies is Warren’s own words, as a candidate wanting to win a popularity contest.

Warren herself says that there would be enormous job losses in the health care industry:

Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren admitted Wednesday that Medicare for All could result in two million lost jobs.

In an interview with New Hampshire Public Radio, the Democratic presidential contender said she concurs with a study from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst that said socialized medicine would probably have a devastating impact on the those working in the current private health care industry.

This would create similar health care shortages and waiting lists (with people dying on waiting lists) that we see in single-payer systems such as Canada and the Veteran’s Affairs health care system. Except far worse.

And keep in mind that the middle class pays for health care in Canada:

Socialized medicine in Canada anything but free. The [Fraser Institute] think-tank reported that the average Canadian family spends over $12,000 in taxes on government-funded health care.

That is how single-actually works. We need to look at how single-payer health care works in reality, and not form our opinions of it based on a candidate’s WORDS during an ELECTION CAMPAIGN. Let’s look at evidence, and not just vote for things that sound good and make us feel good and make our friends like us.

Christian man shares his story of being banned by Canada’s armed forces for disagreeing with Islam

Four white Canadian police officers arrest black pastor
Canadian police officers arrest black pastor for preaching the gospel

I got an essay from a Christian man who lives in Canada who served with the armed forces, but was banned from re-enlistment for expressing orthodox Christian views online about Islam. On this blog, I have urged Christians not to entrust a secular government with too many responsibilities, because it results in diminished liberty. I hope my readers will learn something from his story.

The remained of this post is written by the Canadian writer.


I was in the Canadian army several years ago, and while during this brief period of my life I was somewhat eager to get out. It just wasn’t a good time and I had chosen a less than ideal trade. I also had a difficult time telling myself I did the right thing. My 3 year engagement was valuable in some ways, I made some of my best friends there, and it made me into somewhat of a disciplined civilian, one might say. After my release from the army, I went to school and studied Christian apologetics and philosophy, which gave me an excellent outlet to share ideas. I had taken a course on Islam through Veritas evangelical seminary, which was very informative. I had learned that Islam shares many core ideas of Christianity, but there was also something about it which undoubtedly drives much of the terrorist activity in the world. I decided I could no longer evaluate Islam through what the media was telling me, or some of the attitudes towards Islam I may have picked up in the army. Given the time in which I was in the army (2005-2008), during the Afghanistan conflict, no doubt there was a great deal of vilification of our enemy in order to dehumanize them. This seems to be how war works, as it makes it easier to kill who you believe to be sub-human.

No doubt, Islam has been heavily politicized since then. It has become the preferred religion of the Liberal party in Canada; the object of tolerance, and the line of demarcation, which if you do not tolerate you are a racist, even if you so much as raise concern with regards to its violent roots, and current activity. Either way, I had to understand it for myself.

Is this a misappropriated religion, used by those who would be violent anyway as a pretext to carry out their actions? Is there room for reform within Islam, can a believer move away from the violent passages in the Quran, and adopt a more peaceful form of Islam without compromising essential beliefs?
Without getting into the details of my piece, I answered these questions in the negative, while leaving open the very real possibility that a genuinely peaceful person might be a Muslim, that we might hold two, or more, conflicting ideas at once. I published my ideas on my former blog.

Since then, I had reapplied with the army, I even did my aptitude test again, bringing up my score, in order to open up a more desirable occupation than before. My chosen occupation was intelligence, and I was almost in. I suppose it was appropriate that the recruiter gathered their intelligence on me, and found my apologetics blog.

During the recruiting process, one form which all candidates must sign is “Operation Honour,” instantiated by General Jonathan Vance, an initiative not in place during my previous engagement. This outlines an understanding that members must not sexually harass, or discriminate against other CF members, and such can be grounds for dismissal, which seems reasonable.

I was called into the recruiting centre, and my reapplication to the military was closed due to this post, this post which expressed views criticizing a set of ideas, Islam, as a private citizen.

I had argued, with the recruiters, how no specific person was accused of violence, and how the piece was only intended to draw out the problems I saw contained within. They would have none of it, and were set on a year long deferral. It became clear to me that our freedoms of speech were under attack, and in order to hold jobs in government one cannot hold views contrary to the current cultural milieu. I have since had the opportunity to reapply, but with such a wax nose initiative in place, where any disagreement one might voice against a particular worldview, I am unsure how one’s career could survive in an atmosphere of whistleblowers, and where people’s feelings are a metric for one’s worthiness in the forces. Literally anything which rubs another the wrong way, any concern or disagreement, can become a nightmare for a member.

Would not the mere presence of me, a Christian, be an affront to Islam, or even a homosexual/LGBTQ member? The simple affirmation of Jesus being the Son of God is blasphemy to Islam, which only affirms Him as a prophet. How is anyone to function in such an environment as both a private citizen and a state employee, one which professes inclusivity, but has their own ideas of exclusivity in mind? In the name of tolerance, it does seem that our government, and its agencies, have become some of the most intolerant and divisive amongst us. They seem more interested in catering to special interest groups, rather than evaluating ideas, which is ironic considering my intended trade—intelligence, which examines sociopolitical influences on a region, ideas that might be useful for command decisions.

If Islam were the peaceful religion our politicians claim it to be, wouldn’t this be a valuable thing for a person in a command position to know? One could use this knowledge to reform violent practitioners away from their erroneous ways. Yet, they have chosen to protect it by brute political force, rather than allowing open discussion.

Sure, I was initially bitter about this, but it was a valuable lesson, and it has shown me how under the brief influence of a very pseudo-liberal government, how our basic freedoms of thought and speech become attacked, freedoms which I thought our military was interested in preserving, at home and abroad. I suppose it was a valuable awakening to no longer see the state as the preservers of morality, let alone our basic freedoms. For this, we need to look elsewhere.


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