Health-care system isn’t free

I read an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune recently that looked at the costs of job-based health care in the United States.
I was shocked by the cost being pegged at $15,745, which struck me as being unbelievably high. The costs had risen by $2,400 over the past four years.
Another study that was published in 2011 indicates a family of four in the United States would pay almost $20,000 annually.
Meanwhile, the Fraser Institute reported last week that health-care insurance costs the average Canadian family of four almost $11,000.
As Canadians, many of us like to think we have free health care. We may not be making direct payments to an insurance company, or payments to a hospital or clinic, but we do pay for the services we receive.
Our hospitals are publicly-funded. Across the district, we have raised funds for a CT scanner, mammography imaging, dialysis treatment, and other services for Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc.
Our provincial health-care costs have grown by almost 25 percent in the last decade.
Based on income, a family with an annual income of $67,115 would pay $6,663 for health care. A family with an income of $241,549 would pay $32,116 for their public health care.
These costs do not include prescriptions, eye care, or many other medical services.
In the U.S., most health plans carry a $1,000 deductible cost and many have lifetime maximums for health care.
Here in Ontario, we have no deductible costs and no maximums on coverage. Ontario health care costs consume 45.7 percent of the provincial budget.
Canadians over the age of 65 make up just 14 percent of the population but they consume 44 percent of all health-care costs. While the U.S. ranks first in per person expenditures for health care in the world, it ranks 38th in life expectancy.
Canada, on the other hand, ranks 10th in per person expenditure and 13th in life expectancy.
Pharmaceutical medications are covered by public funds for the elderly and indigent, or though employment-based private insurance. The federal government negotiates drug prices with suppliers to control costs.
As Canadians, we take pride in our health-care system. We really enjoy the freedom to go to clinics, pick our doctors, and know that we will never face catastrophic medical costs.
In fact, 70 percent of Canadians say our system is working either “very well” or “well.”
Our health-care system isn’t perfect. From time to time, we may not be happy with the service we receive. Yet statistics prove the Canadian system is effective.
We always must realize that we do not have a free system. And just because we don’t see a deduction on our paycheques, we are paying for it through employer payroll taxes and our personal income taxes.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail