Most people don’t understand how our medical system works. We do not have free health care in the traditional sense. 75% of Canadian health care services are delivered privately, but funded publicly, if that makes any sense. Basic costs are covered by the government. But less than half the cost for our medication is publicly funded. And only about 10% of long term and chronic illness treatments are paid for by the public. The rest is through private insurance or the patient’s own pockets.
Waiting times are usually longer than in the US, and we are slower to adopt new technology and medicines which leads to higher mortality rates for conditions like heart attacks. That’s why sometimes we travel to other countries to get treatment. The Ontario government is currently spending 40% of it’s whole budget on health care. Some estimates health care costs will climb to as high as 80% of all their provincial spending by 2030 if left unchecked. I wonder if that has anything to do with why Canadians pay so much tax.
Speaking of taxes, BC is raising MSP premiums (government health insurance that everyone has to pay, unless they live with parents or don’t have a job) As of January 2012, BC medical rates are increasing as detailed below. I’m single, so I’m paying the lowest rate. And even better, my employer pays most of it for me (ಥ‿ಥ ) I feel so lucky.
Single: Now $60.50 per month Next Year $64.00 per month
Family of 2 Now $109.00 per month Next Year $116.00 per month
3 or more Now $121.00 per month Next Year $128.00 per month
Does your company pay for your health care premiums too? Canada has a pretty good medical system overall, but I think it can be improved. For example, on average, Canadian surgeons only earn half of what US surgeons make, so there’s little incentive for skilled doctors to stay here once they finish medical school, which is a whole other issue that I wont get into today.