Health Care Costs Trillions Less in Canada; Here’s Why

Health Care Costs Trillions Less in Canada; Here’s Why

Many of us have heard that the Canadian healthcare system is much less expensive than our system, but have been somehow convinced that is is inferior. Nothing can be further from the truth, in fact, the Canadian Healthcare system is better integrated, less wasteful and is not a financial burden on their society, as it is in ours. Over the last 10 years, healthcare costs in the United States have exploded, while in Canada, the cost has risen much more slowly and Canadians are quite happy with their system. Even though there are less specialists, there are far more generalists which is a big reason for the lower costs. In studies done in the United States, it has been shown that more specialists = more procedures, and not necessarily better care and higher costs follow their specialties.

I found this interesting article that explains why we need to give their system another look. Those who are profiting from our current system are likely not going to like what they hear, probably because they have the most to lose from a system like this, but we should seriously include this in our national discussion of why healthcare costs so much.

Why Healthcare Costs Trillions Less in Canada

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 15, 2012

As always before a major election, there’s the chorus of threats. “If so and so wins, I’m moving to Canada.” (Groan.) “This country is broke, and out of control, and we’re all going to hell in a hand-basket.”

And so it went this year, except that in 2012, many a Twitter tirade blamed the healthcare reform law—aka Obamacare, aka the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—now on its way to full implementation, for the urge among the electorate to flee the country.

I paraphrase, but some of the unenlightened comments went like this: “I’m moving to Winnipeg. Don’t want the government controlling my life or my healthcare.”

Here’s the irony: The Maple Leaf nation’s government-paid healthcare system, which requires few if any co-payments or deductibles, may provide much higher quality of healthcare services at a fraction of the spending compared with the Medicare program in the United States.
In a research letter in the Archives of Internal Medicine Oct. 29, Harvard physicians and professors David Himmelstein, MD and Steffie Woolhandler, MD, put the comparison into perspective for people 65 and older.

They used U.S. Medicare actuarial data dating back 30 years. They excluded payments for the disabled and patients on dialysis under 65, but included Medicare Advantage, and compared it with comparable Canadian Medicare healthcare cost data from three sources.

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