canadian health care

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For many Canadians, the Victoria Day long weekend marks the beginning of summertime holiday planning, if not a late May escape after a long winter. For those who travel outside of the country in the coming months, we have a modest proposal: find a pub, sit down with locals and ask about their nation’s health care system.


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With the deadline for filing income tax returns now passed, some Canadians may still be in shock at the size of their tax bills while others no doubt find solace in the belief that their taxes help pay for a high quality universal access health care system.


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When it comes to health care, all three of Canada’s major federal political parties are drinking the same Kool-Aid. All three say they will maintain the six per cent annual increases to health care transfer payments to the provinces past 2014. But does it not seem odd they want to spend more money on a problem that has little to do with how much we spend, especially at a time when Ottawa can ill afford it?


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When stacked up against countries with similar health care goals, namely universal coverage, it quickly becomes apparent that Canada’s health care system is not worth emulating. While we’re a top spender, we have among the longest waiting lists, low levels of medical technologies and perhaps the problem that hits closest to home, a short supply of doctors.


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When it comes to Canadian health care, everyone seems to agree our system has problems and needs to be improved. But the discussion always seems to end there, with any new idea for reform immediately discarded by vote-sensitive politicians and vested special interest groups.