Canada’s Single-Payer System Causes “Suffering and Deaths of People on Wait Lists”

(p. A17) Canada’s single-payer health-care system, known as Medicare, is notoriously sluggish. But private clinics like Cambie are prohibited from charging most patients for operations that public hospitals provide free. Dr. Day is challenging that prohibition before the provincial Supreme Court.
. . .
People stuck on Medicare waiting lists can only dream of timely care. Last year, the median wait between referral from a general practitioner and treatment from a specialist was 21.2 weeks, or about five months–more than double the wait a quarter-century ago. Worse, the provincial governments lie about the extent of the problem. The official clock starts only when a surgeon books the patient, not when a general practitioner makes the referral. That adds months and sometimes much longer. In November [2017] an Ontario woman learned she’d have to wait 4½ years to see a neurologist.
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Dr. Day’s lawsuit aims to overturn these provisions. It alleges that the government’s legal restrictions on private care are to blame for the needless “suffering and deaths of people on wait lists.” Dr. Day argues that the current system violates citizens’ rights to “life, liberty, and security of the person,” as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the equivalent of the U.S. Bill of Rights.

For the full commentary, see:
Sally C. Pipes. “Single-Payer Health Care Isn’t Worth Waiting For; An orthopedic surgeon challenges Canada’s ban on most privately funded procedures.” The Wall Street Journal (Monday, January 22, 2018): A17.
(Note: ellipses, and bracketed year, added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date Jan. 21, 2018.)

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