I am Canadian and have a good understanding of this issue I believe.
If this is accurate, it's certainly alarming.
A study by the Fraser Institute....
The study is accurate but the reasons presented in the study for 'medical tourism' are interpretations by the researchers, who are somewhat
Things like inferior care and long waiting seem to be the main reasons.
Canada has an overall excellent level of care. In a very few cases the US has specialists that are more cutting edge, but 95% of the time the level of
health care in both countries is the same. Very different ways to access that care of course. Inferior care is NOT the reason.
Long waiting is a significant part of the reason. People can get an MRI much faster by paying for it and bypassing the wait list for a government paid
for MRI. That speeds up their diagnosis and eventual treatment and recovery. Common examples of this are athletes who need recovery as fast as
possible. The Canadian system uses a 'needs' based priority system to expedite procedures, but does not account for your type of work in relation to
your injury. 'Needs' are medically considered only.
The other main reason is costs, in Canada, for 'optional' care procedures. The government insurance only pays for required medical procedures. A
significant amount of medical procedures can be purchased cheaper in other countries. For example India offers low cost plastic surgery, including
airfare and recovery time, with nearly the same quality in respected facilities.
Are there widespread problems with the system or is this "report" just sensationalized?
There are widespread problems. Most of them being long delays. For top level, specialized treatment, as well as delays in routine hospital care. Other
major concerns are with increasing drug costs that are eating up increasing government spending.
And maybe it would help to know what each Canadian worker is paying in taxes and if there are other taxes aside from income tax that pays the medical
Medical care and taxation rates don't correlate very well when you review different healthcare systems around the world. There is a small
correlation, but not nearly as much as 'common sense' leads people to think.
We also hear rumors of "death panels" also.
This is false. There is ongoing debate in public policy as to allowing euthanasia in Canada. If this is allowed there may be a system that includes
and expert medical panel to determine if a person that requests euthanasia is actually allowed the procedure.
And, do Canadians have any kind of "access to" private insurance policies similar to U.S. style ?
There are private insurance policies in Canada, but they are not popular and expensive. They 'add on' to the government coverage. Many people in
Canada have an additional medical coverage plan from their employer, but those plans are decreasing as employment styles modernize.
I would also assume that treatment in the U.S. for example, would be very expensive for someone visiting.
It is VERY expensive. Canadians purchase special medical travel insurance that covers any medical procedures they need when they travel. That
insurance can be very expensive or impossible to get depending on pre-existing medical conditions.
Honestly, the vast majority of Canadians are VERY proud of their medical system. It is very socialist in nature, was designed that way on purpose, and
will remain that way for the foreseeable future. Recently BC tried to mix in private health care and the Federal government slammed the door on that
idea very quickly. No other provinces will be allowed to experiment with private health options, including Alberta. That doesn't mean any restriction
to people that want to pay for faster service. That is allowed in facilities that have no relationship to government care facilities.
Hope that helps clarify a bit of sensational reporting for you....