Long health-care wait times hurt Canadians in many ways

COVID-19 has exacerbated the problem but it’s not the primary cause of our wait-time crisis

Long health-care wait times hurt Canadians in many waysBy Mackenzie Moir and Bacchus Barua The Fraser Institute With a full year of life with COVID-19 behind us, and the hope of mass vaccination on the horizon, it’s time for policy-makers to refocus some of their attention on our other health-care crisis – long wait times for medical care. Although the number of patients…

Health-care wait times in Canada hit record high in 2020

Patients in Canada face the longest wait time for elective surgery on record

Health-care wait times in Canada hit record high in 2020By Bacchus Barua and Mackenzie Moir The Fraser Institute As we continue our battle against COVID-19, another separate health-care crisis rages on. Wait times. Patients in Canada face the longest wait time for elective surgery on record – 22.6 weeks (between referral from a family doctor to receipt of medically necessary treatment). Of course, the…

Poll exposes key problems with a national pharmacare plan

Rather than covering every Canadian for drugs they can already afford, we should focus on those who fall through the cracks

Poll exposes key problems with a national pharmacare planWith fears related to COVID-19 and the economy running high, a new poll by the Angus Reid Institute reveals near universal support for some sort of public pharmacare plan. However, it also inadvertently revealed that, despite such support, most Canadians don’t actually need it. Conducted in partnership with a list of experts who have long…

National pharmacare will be very expensive and likely unnecessary

National pharmacare will be very expensive and likely unnecessaryAccording to reports, the Trudeau government may unveil a national pharmacare program in Wednesday’s throne speech in Ottawa. The program may be based on last year’s Hoskins’ report, which recommended an expensive top-down Medicare-style approach that would artificially set drugs prices, restrict patient choice and limit private alternatives. Not only would such a program drive…

Alberta should seek more autonomy in health care 

Welfare reform in the 1990s provides a starting point for reforming health care today

Alberta should seek more autonomy in health care By Jake Fuss and Bacchus Barua The Fraser Institute On Wednesday, Alberta’s Fair Deal Panel issued its report detailing 25 policy recommendations to expand the province’s influence within the Canadian federation and enhance provincial autonomy. However, one crucial policy option was not discussed at length – the potential shift of health-care decision-making powers to the…

Many Canadians pay a great deal for ‘free’ health care

The amount we pay for health care through the tax system depends on family income and size

Many Canadians pay a great deal for ‘free’ health careBy Milagros Palacios and Bacchus Barua The Fraser Institute The fall federal election showed that politicians across the spectrum are happy to promise to spend more on our government-run health-care system. Whether the spending is for long-term care or pharmacare, the political solution to any health-care problem seems to be to pump more money into…

More money won’t necessarily solve health care problems

Instead of asking for more money and all the strings that come attached, the provinces should ask for more freedom to try new delivery models

More money won’t necessarily solve health care problemsBy Bacchus Barua and Ben Eisen The Fraser Institute Despite their differences, it seems Canada’s premiers are united in one thing: demanding more federal health-care dollars. But nobody talked about the price the premiers must pay for the money from Ottawa: the freedom to design and implement policies that could actually improve care. At the…

Canada can learn from Swiss and Dutch drug coverage

Both countries partner with the private sector and expect patients to share the cost of treatment

Canada can learn from Swiss and Dutch drug coverage  By Bacchus Barua and Kristina Acri The Fraser Institute The Liberal federal government seems poised to propose a national pharmacare plan in time for the Oct. 21 federal election. Many proponents note that Canada is the only industrialized country featuring a universal health-care system that doesn’t provide universal coverage for prescription drugs. However, those…

Federal drug-pricing plan threatens access to new medicines

There’s no escaping the fact that discovering, developing and testing new drugs costs a lot of money

Federal drug-pricing plan threatens access to new medicinesBy Bacchus Barua and Steven Globerman The Fraser Institute It seems quite clear that the current Liberal administration wants the federal government to become the public insurer for prescription drugs, in part to contain drug costs. It’s a wrongheaded plan. In 2017, the government proposed changes to the way it limits drug prices in Canada.…

Alberta should look abroad, and next door, for health care solutions

Spending continues to rise but Albertans have diminished access to care and face above-average wait times

Alberta should look abroad, and next door, for health care solutionsBy Bacchus Barua and Jason Clemens The Fraser Institute Albertans, like all Canadians, spend comparatively high amounts on health care but only receive modest performance from the system compared to other universal care countries. Thankfully, there’s much the province can (and should) do to improve its health-care system. According to the Canadian Institute for Health…

Canada’s free ride on U.S. drug development may end soon

A shift in U.S. drug pricing could cut pharmaceutical profits, meaning less money for research and development

Canada’s free ride on U.S. drug development may end soonBy Steven Globerman and Bacchus Barua The Fraser Institute In October, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump outlined a plan that, if implemented, would substantially lower the amount the U.S. government will pay drug-makers for certain pharmaceuticals covered by its Medicare plan. Though limited in scope, Trump’s changes are a clear step toward controlling…

Before implementing national pharmacare, look at what provinces already offer

Instead of using scarce health-care dollars broadly, we should identify and support those Canadians falling through the cracks

Before implementing national pharmacare, look at what provinces already offerModern medicines can improve health outcomes and quality of life for those stricken with illness. As a result, policy-makers and ordinary Canadians are understandably concerned about patient access, affordability and insurance coverage for prescrip­tion drugs. However, recent calls for a national pharmacare program would have many believe that Canadians without private drug insurance – about…

The private cost of health-care queues in Canada

Our closed government-heavy system stands in stark contrast to other universal health-care systems that have shorter wait times

The private cost of health-care queues in CanadaIt’s no secret that Canadians face some of the longest health-care wait times in the developed world. According to the Fraser Institute’s annual survey of physicians, at 21.2 weeks from referral to treatment, Canadians waited longer in 2017 than ever before. And for some patients, wait times can have serious consequences. While this may be…

Ottawa’s rules make health care worse

We’ve seen decades of policy paralysis, with provinces constantly under threat of penalty for exploring policy options

Ottawa’s rules make health care worseBy Bacchus Barua and Nadeem Esmail The Fraser Institute What makes health care in our country uniquely Canadian? It’s certainly not the goal to ensure universal access to care regardless of ability to pay. That goal is shared by at least 28 other high-income countries around the world. It’s certainly not that our universal health-care…

Private care is an essential part of an effective health system

We should stop demonizing private clinics – and the patients who need them – and recognize that they're part of the solution

Private care is an essential part of an effective health systemLast month, on the heels of a new threat from the British Columbia government to fine doctors who accept private payment for treatment already covered by the government-run health-care system, a trial – initiated more than seven years ago by a private Vancouver clinic led by Dr. Brian Day – resumed. Day, a former head…

The fundamental fallacy of universal drug coverage

A program to provide prescription drugs to all Canadians is wasteful and wrongheaded. We should simply be targeting those who need help

The fundamental fallacy of universal drug coverageAs a parliamentary committee in Ottawa drafts its report on the possibility of a national drug plan, a new study estimates that roughly one out of every 12 Canadians who required a prescription in 2016 had difficulty paying for it. The authors also estimate that one million Canadians reduced spending on food and heat due…