In New Brunswick, 74,000 people are on a waiting list looking for a family doctor.
In British Columbia, primary care centers are on the verge of being overwhelmed as hospitals cut emergency room hours.
In Ontario, hospitals have been forced to close their ERs, leaving some patients languishing in hallways for hours waiting for emergency care.
In Quebec, the average wait for a hospital bed is a painful 18.9 hours. And in Alberta, emergency care facilities are unavailable to citizens in rural areas due to reduced hours of operation.
We see the same story in every province of Canada. Local opposition parties try to score the ruling party on this issue, but it doesn’t matter which party is in power. The health care system is dysfunctional under the rule of the NDP, United Conservative Party, Liberal Party, Progressive Conservative Party and Avenir Quebec Coalition. The issue has no partisan roots.
Nor is the problem due to lack of spending. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada spent her 10.8% of her GDP ($6,666 per capita) on healthcare. Her average OECD country spent her 8.8% ($5,074 per capita). Healthcare costs in Canada increased by 12.8% in 2020 due to the pandemic and have continued to rise since then. I can’t get out of this problem.
So if it doesn’t matter which party is in power or how much money is being spent, what could lead to a nation-wide healthcare collapse?
Political leaders deliberately blind and stumble in their refusal to recognize the elephant in the room. Most people know the answer, but they don’t dare to say it for fear of being undone for desecration of one of Canada’s most sacred cows.
Canada’s healthcare system is broken and beyond repair. The entire model is fatally flawed and needs to be rebuilt.
Most of us have been told all our lives that we live in a country with the best healthcare system on the planet. Whenever we feel insecure about our Southern cousins in the United States, we ride our tall horses and point out that our healthcare system is superior to theirs. Having built an impeccable healthcare system, we crowned Tommy Douglas as “Greatest Canadian” at a national game show held by CBC.
Questioning Canada’s healthcare system amounts to political suicide. Even the most reform-minded politicians dare to do nothing but pour more money into fine-tuning rural health systems. Anything else will inevitably lead to an election loss.
The Canadian system is far from the best on the planet.
When Canada’s healthcare system is compared to other countries based on cost, outcomes and accessibility, Canada ranks below 30th. world health organization and other organizations. Our ranking keeps dropping.
In elections in every province in Canada, healthcare consistently ranks as the number one issue among voters. So why are political leaders too scared to deal with it?
Healthcare fearmongering is the most effective tool in any local party’s election strategy. As soon as politicians dare to hint at health care reform, they are accused of trying to Americanize the system, relentlessly allowing the poor to die if they can’t afford their medical bills. Powerful public sector unions will happily amplify that myth to devastating effect.
Canada needs an indomitable leader to advocate for healthcare reform. The numbers prove the need, but the need for reform must be explained with caution.
First, we need to break the myth that there are only two healthcare systems in the world. The discussion needs to look beyond North America. The Canadian system is too inflexible to maintain, while the American system needs more universal coverage.
Meanwhile, there are dozens of European models, offering universal coverage with a mixture of public/private, often with better results at lower costs. Let’s stop talking about the worst two systems and think about the best system.
Canada’s healthcare system is on the brink of collapse. The road to reform is right in front of us, but few people discuss it.
The Canadian system is changing. Must be. The only remaining question is whether to reform the system before or after it completely crashes.
I fear it will be the latter, despite alarm bells ringing all around us. Denial wins the day.
Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Epoch Times.