3. International Healthcare: Health services in Canada are not free. No Minister Taylor, Canada can’t offer Kawhi ‘free’ health care

by admin on 08/13/2019 12:40 AM

Appeared in the Ottawa Sun, July 3, 2019

Ever since the Raptors won the NBA championship, businesses across Canada have (mostly in jest) offered Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard free access to their services as an extra incentive for the free agent to resign with Toronto.

Over the weekend, Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor joined the chorus, posting on Twitter that Kawhi should also consider that in Canada he’ll receive “free health care.” But unless the minister is suggesting Kawhi would be exempt from paying taxes, she’s making the superstar small forward a promise she can’t keep.

Health services in Canada are not free. In fact, Canada’s provincial and territorial governments spent an estimated $162.7 billion on the country’s public health-care system in 2018. And Canadians, through a variety of different taxes, were responsible for the bill.

Of course, Minister Taylor was just having a bit of fun, but her tweet reinforces a widely held misconception—that because patients rarely (if ever) directly pay any money for care in hospitals or doctor’s offices, health care in this country is “free.” So it’s worthwhile to take the opportunity to correct this mistaken notion.

The most obvious way Canadians pay for health care is through our tax dollars. However, instead of a dedicated tax, general government revenues from a variety of sources (including income and sales taxes) fund health care. This makes it very difficult to estimate exactly how much we pay for public health care, further contributing to the “free” myth. . .

One recent Fraser Institute analysis showed that the average Canadian family (two parents, two children) paid $12,935 for public health care in 2018 through the country’s tax system. . .

[A] recent study found that more than one million Canadians spent time on a wait list for medically necessary health services in 2018. Long waits are another cost of the Canadian health-care system. . .

Now, opinions may vary on whether Canadians get good value for the money we pay in taxes to support public health care, but the notion that it’s “free” is clearly false.

Author:  Ben Eisen

Senior Fellow, Fraser Institute


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Government medicine does not give timely access to healthcare,
only access to a waiting list.

–Canadian Supreme Court Decision 2005 SCC 35, [2005] 1 S.C.R. 791


In America, everyone has access to HealthCare at all times. No one can be refused by any hospital.

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