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Fraser Institute report compares Canada's health care system to similar ones

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Summary

Report finds Canada lags behind other similar health care systems

Critics say the report doesn't delve deep enough into key issues

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The Fraser Institute is out with a new report comparing Canada’s health care system to other countries that also have universal care.

Comparing Performance of Universal Health Care Countries_study

 

Bacchus Barua is an economist with the Fraser Institute. He says while we invest more money than many countries, we fall behind in several important categories. “In terms of doctors per capita we are 25th out of 29 countries, in terms of beds we are 27th out of 27 countries — MRIs and CT Scanners we’re in the middle of the pack.”

Canada also struggled when it came to wait times. Among the 10 comparable countries, Canada performed the worst with the highest percentage of patients who waited two months or longer for a specialist appointment, and the highest percentage of patients who waited four months or longer for elective surgery.

The Fraser Institute said Germany performed best in both of those categories. “Despite Canada’s high health-care spending, we continue to struggle with long wait times, which remain a defining characteristic,” says Barua.

However, not everyone is buying into the right-wing think tank’s research.

While Public Finance Policy Analyst Alex Hemingway says the study doesn’t look at some key factors. “We actually spend more on healthcare privately than most other countries in Europe for example, and that’s because we don’t have universal coverage in areas like prescription drugs, physiotherapy and so on.”

He believes that leads to some results that don’t tell the entire story. “It’s actually that private, for-profit section of the system in Canada that is responsible for the most inefficiency.”

Hemingway says the report may have actually signaled for some changes the author didn’t have in mind. “The study, perhaps unintentionally actually highlights the need to expand the scope of public health care coverage in Canada if we want to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of care.”