Saturday, February 02, 2008

Regarding the efficacy of the Canadian health care system

In comments on a recent Noteworthy post concerning problems with the Canadian single payer health system, Dave Ribar suggested that our Canadian neighbors just might enjoy a better system (with lower infant mortality rate being one measure) than we do. You can read the comments made by Dave, myself, and Joe Guarino.

Here is some earlier research, and a number of linked footnotes which give additional substance in favor of the U.S. system.

As you can see in the original thread's comments, Dave dismissed the value of "anecdotes" in favor of statistics. Here's some statistics in support of "anecdotes".

"According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (an international organization of 30 member nations), in 2001, 63 percent of Americans reported a waiting time of one month or less for elective surgery, compared to 37 percent of Canadians. 32 percent of Americans waited 1-3 months for elective surgery compared to 36 percent of Canadians. Only five percent of Americans reported waits of four months or more for such procedures, compared to 27 percent of Canadians.

In September 2004, an article by Canadian researchers appearing in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association reported that Canadian heart attack patients run a 17 percent greater risk of dying than their U.S. counterparts. The researchers concluded that the reason for higher Canadian mortality following heart attacks lay in the difference between the way the Canadian and U.S. health systems are organized."

The conclusion of the article sums it up nicely:

"Advocates of a Canadian system do tout this benefit: Patients pay nothing for services. But this this accurate? Only for those patients who aren't Canadian taxpayers. Twenty-two percent of all of Canada's tax revenues go to pay for Canada's health care system.

That's a lot of money for Canadian citizens to spend for a service they can't be sure they'll get."

On the other hand, I suppose things could have magically turned 180 degrees around in Canada in the 3 plus years since the article was written, but I rather doubt that the "exemplary" Canadian system has improved that much in such a short time

No comments:

Post a Comment