Democrats: “Canadians get free healthcare!” (Fact-check: True, if paying $14,000 per year is what you call “free.”)

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According to a new report by the Fraser Institute, and despite the numerous speeches from Democrats at their convention, Canadians pay lots for their “free” health care, through their personal taxes.

“In fact, a typical Canadian family of four (two parents, two children) will pay an estimated $14,474 for public health-care insurance this year!” according to the Fraser Institute.

But the top 10% don’t pay their fair share and etc!!

Actually, families among the top 10 percent of income earners in Canada will pay $39,731 for that same “free” public health care insurance.

They go on to explain the misconceptions. “Why the misunderstanding? One reason why Canadians don’t know the true cost of health care is because the physician and hospital services that are covered by tax-funded health care insurance are free* at the point of use. This situation leads many people to underestimate the true cost of health care as it ignores the substantial taxpayer-funded cost of the system.”

And since it’s funded through myriad taxes like income taxes, Employment Insurance (EI) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) premiums, property taxes, profit taxes, sales taxes, taxes on the consumption of alcohol and tobacco, and import duties, among other taxes, wealthier Canadians pay progressively far, far more than low-income or average-income Canadians.

*They go on to point out that the word “free” is fraught: “Free in a monetary sense. There are, however, costs associated with health care use in Canada that are not monetized, such as wait times for access to medical services.” I’ll say. Wait times in Canada are awful. Americans have no idea that some Canadians have to wait months or even more than a year for basic hip or knee surgery and other such “elective” surgeries. And that was before COVID-19. In an earlier report, “Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, 2019,Fraser Institute finds that “the median wait time for medically necessary treatment in Canada this year was 20.9 weeks.”

And it’s not getting better. “This is the second-longest wait ever recorded by the Fraser Institute, which has been measuring wait times across Canada since 1993 when patients waited just 9.3 weeks.”

Even for basics: “Patients also experience significant waiting times for various diagnostic technologies across the provinces. This year, Canadians could expect to wait 4.8 weeks for a computed tomography (CT) scan, 9.3 weeks for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, and 3.4 weeks for an ultrasound.”

Canada’s “free” $14,000 healthcare insurance also doesn’t cover prescriptions, nor dental, as I’ve heard some falsely suggest.

Joel Johannesen
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