During the hard-sell campaign to pass the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a/k/a Obamacare, proponents of the Obamacare program made comparisons between the U.S. free-market system and the Canadian socialized model, but a new Canadian public policy think-tank report released on Thursday appears to fly in the face of President Barack Obama's -- and his sycophants in the news media's -- claims.
Many Americans, including physicians, believe that Obamacare is merely the first step in the Democratic Party's ultimate goal for the United States to have a single-payer program, very similar to the Canadian model. Many Democrats have been, and continue to be vocal about Obamacare not going far enough as far as government control of healthcare.
In fact, in 2007 filmmaker Michael Moore released his highly partisan motion picture "Sicko," to rave reviews. The movie condemned the U.S. healthcare system and praised the Canadian system using the usual Moore canards that have been proven in his prior films. And White House mouthpiece, Bob Beckel, on Fox News Channel's "The Five" often admits he and other Democrats want a single-payer program modeled after Canada's.
Yet, according to the nonpartisan Fraser Institute, with headquarters located in Vancouver, Canada, a typical Canadian family unit comprised of a father, mother and two children will pay up to $11,786.00 this year for public healthcare benefits. And that pays for insurance for care that is basically rationed by government bureaucrats.
“Healthcare in Canada is not free—while Canadians may not pay directly for medical services, they pay a substantial amount of money for healthcare through taxes,” wrote Bacchus Barua, study co-author and senior economist in the Fraser Institute's Center for Health Policy Studies.
Unfortunately, a majority of the Canadian people are kept ignorant of what healthcare truly costs them since they don't receive invoices for any portion of physician and hospital services covered by tax-funded healthcare "insurance." The Canadian government's regular tax revenue -- not a dedicated medical tax or surcharge -- pays for healthcare, while premiums cover only a fraction of the costs for medical treatment.
"One of the unfortunate realities of Canada’s monopolistic [single-payer] healthcare system is that some people feel they have no choice but to seek the care they need outside the country," Bacchus notes.
Canadians, much like U.S. military veterans, often must wait months for treatment, and the study reveals that a number of Canadian become medical tourists.
Fraser Institute study estimates the amount of taxes Canadian families will pay for public health insurance in 2014, and by how much it has increased over the last decade. For example:
- In 2014, the average single individual earning roughly $42,000 will pay $4,381 for public health care insurance.
- A family of two adults and two children earning approximately $118,000 in 2014 will pay $11,786 for public health care insurance.
- The 10 percent of Canadian families with the lowest income will pay an average of $523 for public health care insurance in 2014.
- In 2014, the 10 percent of Canadian families with an average income of $57,818 will pay an average of $5,522.
- And families among the top 10 percent of income earners in Canada will pay $37,239 for public health care insurance.
In one decade -- between 2004 and 2014 -- the cost of healthcare insurance for Canadian families (all family types) has risen 53.3 percent, much higher than the increases in the same decade for income (34.7 percent), shelter (40.7 percent), clothing (33.4 percent) and food (15.6 percent).
“The cost of health care in Canada is rising and it’s ordinary Canadians and their families who pay the bill,” Barua points out in the study. "Any debate about healthcare in Canada has to acknowledge the real cost Canadians pay through taxes. Once Canadians know how much healthcare actually costs them, they can then decide if the system delivers good value for their money.”
Political commentator P.J. O'Rourke is known to have said, "If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free."