Tag Archives: Medicare for All

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.

How well is Canada’s “Medicare for All” health care working for patients?

Wait times in weeks (Source: Maclean's magazine)
Wait times for health care treatment in Canada (Source: Fraser institute)

I get into conversations about politics with my co-workers about who they like in the 2020 election. And I also ask them which particular policies of the candidates they like best. The one they like most is Medicare for All, with “for All” including illegal immigrants. When I ask them which country has got Medicare for All working, they say “Canada”. Let’s take a look at Canada’s health care system.

Here’s a nice article from Mona Charen, posted in TownHall.

She writes:

It’s true that all Canadian citizens and legal residents (though not immigrants there illegally) get “free” health care, but only in the sense that you don’t get a bill after seeing a doctor or visiting a hospital. Medical care is subsidized by taxes, but the price comes in another form as well — rationing. A 2018 report from the Fraser Institute, a Canadian think tank, found that wait times between seeing a general practitioner and a specialist average 19.8 weeks. That’s the average. There are variations among specialties. Those hoping to see an orthopedist wait an average of 39 weeks in Nova Scotia, while those seeking an oncologist wait about 3.8 weeks.

[…]Imagine the anxiety of learning that you need an MRI to find out whether the mass in your breast is anything to worry about and then being told that the next available appointment is in 10 weeks. In addition to the psychic price, Canadians who had to wait for treatment expended an average of $1,822 out of pocket last year, due to lost wages and other costs. The Fraser Institute also calculated the value of the lost productivity of those waiting for treatment — nearly $5,600 per patient, totaling $5.8 billion nationally.

[…]When there’s an artificial shortage of a good or service, a black market usually follows. I have heard from several Canadians that paying doctors bribes to jump the line is not uncommon. But Canada has another pressure reliever: Ninety percent of Canadians live within 90 miles of the U.S. border, and medical centers in Buffalo, Chicago, Rochester and elsewhere receive tens of thousands of Canadian patients every year.

Regarding that last point, I’ve written many times about socialist politicians in Canada electing to travel to the United States for care, and that’s because (as you might expect) health care outcomes for Canadians are vastly inferior to health care outcomes for Americans. And keep in mind that the delay from specialist to GP does not take into account the delay to see the GP, or the delay from seeing the specialist to actually getting treatment.

And how much are Canadians spending for the privilege of waiting 19.8 weeks to see a specialist? Well, the average cost of Canadian health care is about $13,000 per household per year, paid through taxes. What that means is that people who work pay for all the health care being provided, including the health care for people who don’t work. But when it’s time to get treatment, those who pay the bills get in line behind those who don’t pay anything.

So how good is American health care? Maybe Canadians are waiting in line because their health care is so much better than ours.

American health care

One of the best health care policy experts writing today is Avik Roy, who writes for Forbes magazine.

Here is a recent column, which I think is useful for helping us all get better at debating health care policy.

Excerpt:

If you really want to measure health outcomes, the best way to do it is at the point of medical intervention. If you have a heart attack, how long do you live in the U.S. vs. another country? If you’re diagnosed with breast cancer? In 2008, a group of investigators conducted a worldwide study of cancer survival rates, called CONCORD. They looked at 5-year survival rates for breast cancer, colon and rectal cancer, and prostate cancer. I compiled their data for the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, and western Europe. Guess who came out number one?

The United States came out number one, and you can click here to see the larger graph of the complete results.

Some people like to point out that the United States has a low life expectancy, but there’s a problem with those numbers.

The article continues:

Another point worth making is that people die for other reasons than health. For example, people die because of car accidents and violent crime. A few years back, Robert Ohsfeldt of Texas A&M and John Schneider of the University of Iowa asked the obvious question: what happens if you remove deaths from fatal injuries from the life expectancy tables? Among the 29 members of the OECD, the U.S. vaults from 19th place to…you guessed it…first. Japan, on the same adjustment, drops from first to ninth.

It’s great that the Japanese eat more sushi than we do, and that they settle their arguments more peaceably. But these things don’t have anything to do with socialized medicine.

Finally, U.S. life-expectancy statistics are skewed by the fact that the U.S. doesn’t have one health-care system, but three: Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance. (A fourth, the Obamacare exchanges, is supposed to go into effect in 2014.) As I have noted in the past, health outcomes for those on government-sponsored insurance are worse than for those on private insurance.

To my knowledge, no one has attempted to segregate U.S. life-expectancy figures by insurance status. But based on the data we have, it’s highly likely that those on private insurance have the best life expectancy, with Medicare patients in the middle, and the uninsured and Medicaid at the bottom.

If we’re going to discuss health care, then let’s discuss facts. We shouldn’t be picking a health care system from the campaign speeches of politicians who tell us that we can keep our doctor, and keep our health plan, and our premiums will go down. We tried electing a charismatic deceiver in 2008, and it didn’t work out. We lost our doctors, lost our health plans, and our premiums went up astronomically. We can do better than single-payer health care. We can do better than socialism.

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.

Democrat Congresswoman calls for 70% tax rate to fund complete overhaul of energy production and usage

Cost of renewable wind and solar energy
Cost of renewable wind and solar energy

A top Democrat Congresswoman has announced her plan to convert all American businesses and individuals away from low-cost energy production (natural gas, etc.) to high-cost “green” energy sources.  The new government spending will require a tax rate of 70%, which means you (or your employer) will be taking home 30% of what they work for. Let’s look at the consequences of this plan.

Here is the report from Daily Signal:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is ready to tax the rich to make her Green New Deal a reality.

“People are going to have to start paying their fair share in taxes,” the recently elected New York Democrat told TV show “60 Minutes” in an interview set to air Sunday.

Speaking of prior decades’ taxation rates in the country, Ocasio-Cortez added, “Once you get to the tippy tops, on your 10 millionth dollar, sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60 or 70 percent.”

What is this money for? To convert all existing energy production away from low-cost energy sources:

Among its goals are meeting “100 percent of national power” demand through renewable sources, retrofitting “every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort, and safety,” and eliminating “greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacturing, agricultural, and other industries.”

Those changes are going to come with real costs. According to an editorial for Investor’s Business Daily, moving the economy away from fossil fuels to 100 percent renewable energy will come “at a cost of about $5.2 trillion over 20 years.”

You’ll be paying more for energy usage. And what’s more, your EMPLOYER will be paying more for energy usage, which means that a lot of people will be losing their jobs in order to make ends meet.

Even if we’re willing to shoulder the costs, it’s, well, impossible to achieve.

“Producing 100 percent of electricity from renewable sources is a practical impossibility in the near future,” stated a report issued by the Senate Republican Policy Committee in December.

Keep in mind that Ocasio-Cortez also wants to spend another $32 trillion over 10 years nationalizing the health care industry and turning it into an expensive single payer scheme. In Canada, single payer health care costs the average family about $11,000 in taxes, and they get inferior health care (long wait times, lower success rates for cancer / disease treatments, etc.). In 2018, the entire federal budget was $4 trillion. Adding $3.2 trillion (for single payer health care) and $0.52 trillion (for green energy total makeover) will DOUBLE the current budget, and give us $5 trillion dollar annual deficits. The entire national debt is currently $22 trillion, and we’d be adding $5 trillion per year to it. Interest payments on the debt would quickly take over the budget, blocking out all other spending.

Three points

I want to make three points about this.

First, even if we take every penny from “the tippy top” producers in America, we can’t afford a fraction of what all these big government programs will cost. In 2011, the Tax Foundation explained that even if you taxed ALL THE INCOME from all the people who make $200,000 or more, you would only raise $1.53 trillion dollars. We have to come up with $5 trillion annually to cover all this spending.

In any case, the rich are already paying “their fair share of taxes”:

The highest earners already pay the most taxes
The highest earners already pay the most taxes

Half the country doesn’t pay income tax at all, and that’s only going to increase because Democrats keep importing uneducated, unskilled immigrants.

Secondly, raising the tax rates does not guarantee that you will get more money from the people you are taxing. The same person who works 70-hour weeks in order to keep 70% of the $200,000 they earn will not work as hard if you only let them keep 30% of the $200,000 they earn. What will they do instead? Well, they can leave the country. They can hide their income by moving into the underground economy. They can downsize their business by laying off young, inexperienced workers. But most likely, they will just take a break, and reduce the amount of hours, so that they work normal hours in an easy job.

Raising tax rates just causes people to work less and pay less
Raising tax rates just causes people to work less and pay less

Democrats are the party of slavery, so they think that they can enslave people and those people will keep working. It’s not true. People are not slaves, and if you take most of what they earn, they they will stop working. I would personally quit my job and scale down to a regular job if someone raised my taxes over the 30% I pay right now.

Third, U.S. emissions already way down under Trump, because one of the first things he did was deregulate the energy industry, setting them free to innovate. Surprise! If the American people decides that pollution is a problem, then private sector businesses are going to have to solve that problem, since they can only profit by pleasing their customers. The American energy businesses were able to come up with innovative drilling techniques to extract natural gas, with virtually zero impact on the environment.

The Washington Times explains:

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions dropped by 2.7 percent last year, the first year of the Trump presidency, even as the administration slashed environmental regulations and global emissions continued to climb.

The United States has cut carbon emissions more than any other country on the planet, despite not taking part in socialist climate accords:

Carbon emissions have declined more than any other country
United states carbon emissions have declined more than any other country

The problem with Democrat like Ocasio-Cortez is that don’t see how allowing businesses to innovate can lead to solutions to problems like carbon emissions. And that’s because they don’t have any serious experience in the private sector solving problems for customers in exchange for their money.

I hope everyone understands that the truth about Ocasio-Cortez is very different from the image that she portrays. She likes to present herself as “Alex from the Bronx”. But the truth is that she grew up in Yorktown Heights, which is over 80% white, with an average household income of $116,741 a year. Her father was an architect and partner in an architecture firm. She attended the prestigious Boston University, which currently charges $70,000 a year for tuition. She interned with former Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy. And the reason she likes socialism is because she failed to get a job in the field she was educated in. She was working as a bartender until age 29. She spent a quarter million on her education, and didn’t use it. And that spectacular failure of a woman is now deciding how the earnings of people far more educated and successful than she is will be spent. I want nothing to do with her.

Canadian hospital denies man’s requests for assisted care, offers him euthanasia instead

Killing patients is an easy way to keep costs down
How much does “free” health care cost in Canada’s single-payer system?

On this blog, I’ve been consistently opposed to government intervention in health care. I arrived at this position by looking at how health care works in government-run systems like the UK’s NHS and Canada’s single-payer health care system. We’ve already discussed how NHS hospitals were paid bonuses if they got more patients to die. Now Canada is doing it.

This story is from the far-left CTV News, one of Canada’s national television news providers.

Excerpt:

An Ontario man suffering from an incurable neurological disease has provided CTV News with audio recordings that he says are proof that hospital staff offered him medically assisted death, despite his repeated requests to live at home.

Roger Foley, 42, who earlier this year launched a landmark lawsuit against a London hospital, several health agencies, the Ontario government and the federal government, alleges that health officials will not provide him with an assisted home care team of his choosing, instead offering, among other things, medically assisted death.

Foley suffers from cerebellar ataxia, a brain disorder that limits his ability to move his arms and legs, and prevents him from independently performing daily tasks.

In his lawsuit, Foley claims that a government-selected home care provider had previously left him in ill health with injuries and food poisoning. He claims that he has been denied the right to self-directed care, which allows certain patients to take a central role in planning and receiving personal and medical services from the comfort of their own homes.

[…]He is now sharing audio recordings of separate conversations he had with two health care workers at London Health Sciences Centre, where he has been stuck in a hospital bed for more than two years.

In one audio recording from September 2017, Foley is heard speaking to a man about what he has described as attempts at a “forced discharge,” with threats of a hefty hospital bill.

When Foley asks the man how much he’d have to pay to remain in hospital, the man replies, “I don’t know what the exact number is, but it is north of $1,500 a day.”

[…]“Roger, this is not my show,” the man replies. “I told you my piece of this was to talk to you about if you had interest in assisted dying.”

In a separate audio recording from January 2018, another man is heard asking Foley how he’s doing and whether he feels like he wants to harm himself.

Foley tells the man that he’s “always thinking I want to end my life” because of the way he’s being treated at the hospital and because his requests for self-directed care have been denied.

The man is then heard telling Foley that he can “just apply to get an assisted, if you want to end your life, like you know what I mean?”

And how has the government responded to the audio recordings? The same way you would expect any government to respond – with silence:

“I have not received the care that I need to relieve my suffering and have only been offered assisted dying.  I have many severe disabilities and I am fully dependent. With the remaining time I have left, I want to live with dignity and live as independently as possible.”

Lawyers for the hospital were sent the audio excerpts on July 19.  Foley and his lawyer have not received a response.

CTV News also asked the hospital for a statement. The hospital has not responded.

This isn’t the customer service that you would get in a capitalist free market where private sector businesses have to compete on price and quality for your dollars. This is single-payer health care. They have your money already, and they know that you can’t go anywhere else, except to leave the country. The response of the government-run health care system to requests for better care is “go kill yourself, we already have your money”.

And a lot of patients in Canada are being killed.

Wesley J. Smith explains:

Canadian doctors and nurse practitioners have reported that they have killed almost 4,000 (3,714) patients since euthanasia was legalized in Quebec in December 2015 — after which it was legalized throughout the country by Supreme Court fiat — an act of judicial hubris quickly formalized by Parliament.

Nearly 2,000 were killed in 2017, not including a few territories that did not report figures and assuming all euthanasia deaths were reported. All but one of these deaths resulted from a lethal jab — homicide — at the patients’ request.

[…]Note that as is the usual case, the number of doctor-facilitated deaths has increased steadily since legalization. For example, there were more than 200 more such deaths in the last six months of last year than the first.

The recordings help to explain what the phrase “at the patients’ request” really means.

Previously, I blogged about how the lack of money for palliative care is behind Canada’s push to “suggest” euthanasia to patients who ask for better palliative care. Again, what leverage do you have if you already paid them your money in taxes? You have no leverage, and they know that.

This is what happens when government taxes people when they are well, and then decides later who to give health care to, based on the politicians deciding whose votes to buy. Naturally, the young people with less problems are given “health care”, e.g. – contraceptives. abortions, sex changes, IVF, breast enlargements – because they have lots of voting ahead of them. The older people get asked to kill themselves for the good of those running this vote-buying operation.