Thursday, September 19, 2002

Hurry Up and Wait-Interesting National Post piece on waiting times in Canada's health-care system, which have hit all-time highs, ranging from 14 weeks in Ontario to eight months in Saskatchewan. The Frazier Institute, the one Canadian free-market think tank that shows up on my radar, put out the report. Given the liberal nature of Canada, they're fighting the good fight in a place that needs the help. Here's the link to the PDF of it for both of you who want to dig in; I haven't gotten that far. Here's a passage that's a bit bracing
The report notes Canadians wait longer for cardiac treatment than Americans, Germans and Swedes, although not as long as New Zealanders or the British.
Britain’s even worse? That will be an interesting factoid for the Tories to bring up. However, this next paragraph from the article is interesting
In its recent brief to the Royal Commission of the Future of Care in Canada, chaired by Roy Romanow, the former premier of Saskatchewan, the CMA said this problem could be solved with the establishment of minimum national standards for access to care. It said Canadians need to be offered a "safety valve" or guarantee that if a person has to wait too long, they can go outside their province or even the country to receive treatment.
That "outside the country" translates to the USA. Canadians can head south to get health care if they need to, often paid for by the province is the backlog is dangerous enough. One of the downsides of the US adopting such a system is that the US won't have the US to send the overflow to when we screw up. Think about that the next time a "single-payer system" starts sounding good.

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