Canadian Health Care: Patients Waiting Longer Than Ever For Treatment

Investors Business Daily Reports:

Socialist Medicine: Canadians love their hockey and have historically been happy with their government-run health care system. Hockey is thriving. The country’s health care system, though, is a wreck and getting worse.

It could be said the words “Canada” and “health care” really don’t go together because some Canadians never make it to the doctor.

Too many die untreated due to extended wait times to see a doctor, and those wait times have increased again this year. They are now almost twice as long as they were in 1993, the year Hillary Clinton tried to force government health care on Americans.

The Fraser Institute says that in 2015, Canadians waited an average of 18.3 weeks to see a specialist, “slightly longer than the 18.2 week wait reported in 2014” and “97% longer than in 1993, when it was just 9.3 weeks.”

“Waiting for treatment,” writes Bacchus Barua, the Fraser report’s author, “has become a defining characteristic of Canadian health care.”
Fraser has been compiling reports on Canada’s wait times for 25 years. It measures two intervals: the gap between a general practitioner’s referral to consultation with a specialist, and the time span from that consultation to “the point at which the patient receives treatment.”

The longest median waits in 2015 have been for orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery, while the shortest waits have been for radiation oncology and medical oncology. (See chart.)

Of course there will always be wait times for medical treatment, with emergency situations being the exception. But some wait times are simply too long. Fraser said in Canada they exceed a clinically “reasonable” length in 66% of cases.

Too often, the waits are deadly. Consider only those needing heart surgery. We reported on these pages two years ago that “in just one 12-month period (1996-1997), 71 Canadian patients died in just one province (Ontario) while waiting for just one procedure (coronary bypass).”

The victim list is actually much longer, as “another 121 never had the surgery because they became too sick to survive it before their turn came up.”

American hospitals and doctors are offering to fill in the void by drawing in “Canadians weary of long health care waits,” says a report on the website. And, the report adds, the waits “are getting longer because of a doctor shortage and overcrowded clinics and emergency rooms.”

The same report says that a Canadian consulting firm found that “as many as 900,000 Ontarians are experiencing problems accessing medical care, a problem that is expected to get worse and send more of them across the border for health care.”

There will be nowhere for them to go, though, if our government, which already controls about two-thirds of health care, continues to increase its involvement.

That won’t leave many options, as wait times here will grow to look like those in Canada. There is a solution, of course: Reduce government’s role in health care.”