Sally Pipes - The Pipeline
Sally C. Pipes is president, CEO, and the Thomas W. Smith fellow in healthcare policy at the Pacific Research Institute. Her latest book is “False Premise, False Promise: The Disastrous Reality of Medicare for All” (Encounter 2020). Follow her on Twitter @sallypipes.
Tags: canada | rationing | sanders
OPINION

Sanders Views Canada's Healthcare Through Rose-Colored Glasses 

healthcare status of the land of maple

(Lpgiraud/Dreamstime.com)

Sally Pipes By Tuesday, 30 April 2024 10:26 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Canada's Healthcare Nightmare Hasn't Deterred Sen. Bernie Sanders from His Misty-Eyed, Single-Payer Dreams

Sen. Bernie Sanders's, I-Vt., assessment of U.S. healthcare during an event at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health earlier this month, was "It is a system not designed to provide health care to all people in a cost-effective way." 

What Sen. Sanders failed to mention is that his preferred model for care delivery — a government-run, single-payer insurance system that bans private coverage for anything considered "medically necessary" — would be so much worse.

For evidence, look no further than Canada, where a healthcare crisis is unfolding in slow motion. Just days before Sanders took the stage at Harvard, the Canadian government announced that the typical wait time for breast, bladder, colorectal, and lung cancer surgeries between April and September of last year increased relative to the same period in 2019. So did waits for MRI and CT scans.

According to the Fraser Institute, a Vancouver-based think tank, the median wait for specialist care following referral by a general practitioner across Canada was a record 27.7 weeks in 2023. In some provinces, patients can wait well over a year for treatment from a specialist.

Hospitals in Red Deer and Calgary in Alberta are so under-resourced that staff have had to use duct tape and tarps to create impromptu treatment areas for patients, according to reporting from the Red Deer Advocate, a local newspaper.

The practice has become so common that one doctor in Calgary has started wearing a ribbon made of duct tape to raise awareness of the crisis.

Roughly half of Canadians either struggle to see their family doctor or lack one altogether. And 56% of the country doubt the health system will improve in the next five years, according to a 2023 survey by the Angus Reid Institute and the Canadian Medical Association.

A separate survey published in February found that over one-third of 18- to 29-year-old Canadians don't have access to a family doctor or nurse practitioner.

Timely care is now so hard to come by that more than four in ten Canadians said they'd be willing to travel to America and pay out of pocket for routine care, according to an Ipsos poll published in March.

One Toronto family physician described the Canadian health system in a recent interview with The Guardian as "a haves-and-have-nots situation," with some people who "do have access to a family doctor and sometimes even a health team, and then those who have nothing."

That's a far cry from the "healthcare is a human right" rhetoric so often deployed by progressives in their call for Canadian-style health care.

Sadly, Canada's healthcare woes are no anomaly.

They're what we should expect from a single-payer health system in which the government is in charge of allocating a fixed pot of funds and resources from the top down — instead of relying on the dynamic market forces of supply and demand.

As in most command economies, such an arrangement invariably leads to rationing and shortages — as well as untold suffering and misfortune for patients.

Canadian patients may have coverage. But that does not mean they can actually access care.

Indeed, as Beverley McLachlin, the former chief justice of Canada's Supreme Court wrote in a 2005 decision invalidating Quebec's ban on private insurance coverage, "Access to a waiting list is not access to health care."

America's more or less market-oriented healthcare system is far better at providing timely, high-quality care to patients — as well as spurring medical innovation — than the government-dominated healthcare systems in other countries.

Before Americans buy into progressives' dreams of Medicare for All, they should talk to the millions of Canadians who are experiencing single-payer health care for what it is — a waking nightmare.

If we are to provide affordable, accessible, quality health care to all Americans, we must empower patients and doctors to make informed decisions in a functioning market, free of undue government interference.

Sally C. Pipes is president, CEO, and the Thomas W. Smith fellow in healthcare policy at the Pacific Research Institute. Her latest book is "False Premise, False Promise: The Disastrous Reality of Medicare for All," (Encounter Books 2020). Follow her on Twitter @sallypipes. Read Sally Pipes' Reports — More Here.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


SallyPipes
If we are to provide affordable, accessible, quality health care to all Americans, we must empower patients and doctors to make informed decisions in a functioning market, free of undue government interference.
canada, rationing, sanders
705
2024-26-30
Tuesday, 30 April 2024 10:26 AM
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