Some Canadians leave Canada to pay for Better Health Care

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 25th, 2014

Week in Review

The American left likes to hold up the Canadian health care system as the ideal system.  It’s what they wanted when they reluctantly accepted Obamacare.  A single-payer health care system.  Or national health care.  Because those on the left believe the quality of a national health care system far exceeds anything a for-profit insurance company will pay for.  As they deny whatever they can to force people into a third-world health care system.  Where only the rich who can afford to pay for the best get the best.  Interestingly, it appears that’s happening in Canada, too.  Where those who can afford to are traveling elsewhere for their health care instead of entering their own Canadian system (see Canadians Leave Their Country For Better Health Care posted 1/22/2014 on Investors).

According to data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, as many as 41,838 Canadians — out of a population of about 35 million — left the country last year for health care treatment. More than 42,000 left in 2012, while more than 46,000 sought treatment elsewhere the year before.

Destinations, according to a University of Minnesota study that looked at Canadian companies that arrange medical tourism, include Costa Rica, India, Thailand and the U.S. Some companies even send clients to Mexico, Turkey, Poland and the Dominican Republic.

The Fraser Institute of Canada calls the 2013 figure a conservative estimate and, though some will argue otherwise, believes it is a sizable number, one that says something deeply damning about Canadian care…

“One of the unfortunate realities of Canada’s monopolistic health care system is that some people feel they have no choice but to seek the care they need outside the country,” Esmail and Bacchus Barua wrote in an op-ed published last month in a couple of Canadian newspapers. “And who can blame them..?”

Some leave due to Canada’s long and sometimes deadly waiting periods. Others are treated outside the country because there is “a lack of available resources or the fact that some procedures or equipment are not provided in their home jurisdiction,” Esmail and Barua wrote.

If you want to know who has the best health care system just look at the direction of medical tourism.  And people traveling for their health care aren’t going to Canada.  They’re going to Costa Rica, India, Thailand, the United States, Mexico, Turkey, Poland and the Dominican Republic.  But they’re not going to Canada.  Even some Canadians refuse their own health care system.  So do these countries have better health care systems?  Not necessarily.

In an episode of Breaking Bad when Gus went to Mexico to deliver Jesse to the Cartel to cook for them he turned the tables on the cartel.  He poisoned the members of the Cartel with a gift bottle of tequila.  A bottle Gus was the first to drink from.  To prove it was safe to drink.  Of course he took precautions to prevent himself dying from drinking the poisoned tequila.  Including a makeshift emergency room in an abandoned building near the US-Mexican border.  Even stocked with bags of blood matched to the blood types of the three who traveled to Mexico.  They saved Gus from the poison.  And Mike from a near-fatal gunshot wound.

This was quality health care in the middle of nowhere.  Paid for with private money.  Albeit drug money.  But the health care providers were making more there than they could in the regular health care system.  Providing them incentive.  Which all of these medical tourism destinations offer.  Incentive to health care workers to work outside of the regular health care system.  Because they can earn more in a private health care system.  Which is why the best health care talent migrates to private health care systems.  Because when people pay out of pocket there’s more money to pay for the best health care.  And to pay the best health care salaries and wages.  Everyone wins in the private system.  Patients.  And health care providers.  The only losers are those stuck in their own national health care system while they wait for their ‘free’ health care.

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