Canada’s national health care myth

NationalPost.com – Opinion/Full Comment
Posted: April 08, 2010.  Kelly McParland

Here’s an interesting chart from the OECD on the relative cost of health care in 30 countries, measued as a percentage of GDP.

The figures are a couple of years old, but likely haven’t changed significantly. They show — no surprise here — how much more the U.S. spends than any other country, and also that Canada, while near the top of the charts, is not wildly off the average of the 30 countries. France and Switzerland appear to have a more serious problem to address than we do.

But what’s really interesting is to look at the percentage of “private” care in Canada’s supposedly universal public system. It’s equal to or greater than most comparable western/industrial countries.

The main difference is that — unlike other countries — we refuse to admit it and revamp the system to take into account the reality of private care in a way that integrates it with the public system in a more effective and less wasteful manner. Canadians clearly have no qualms about private health care,  based on the amount we spend. We just can’t bring ourselves to deal with it in an adult manner, because it offends our tender faith in the myth that Canada has universal, affordable health care for all.

Kelly McParland
National Post

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