A new poll revealed that Canadians have significantly less confidence in their socialized healthcare system than Americans have in their healthcare system.
The cross-border poll conducted by the independent Canadian research organization Angus Reid Institute found that just 37 percent of Canadians are “confident” or “very confident” that they could access emergency care in a timely fashion, compared to 70 percent of Americans. 24 percent of Canadians express that they are “not confident at all” that they could access emergency care in a timely fashion, while just 6 percent of Americans expressed similar concerns.
In addition to emergency care, Canadians were much more likely to say they experience difficulty accessing all other forms of healthcare, including non-emergency care, diagnostic testing, specialist appointments, and surgeries, according to the poll. Majorities of Canadians expressed that it was “difficult,” “very difficult,” or even “impossible” to access emergency care (53 percent), specialist appointments (58 percent), and surgeries (51 percent). On the other hand, fewer than three in ten Americans said they had difficulty accessing any of the five areas of care.
Canadian respondents were also three times more likely to say they knew someone who was unable to get a diagnostic test they needed and four times more likely to say they knew someone who was unable to get a surgery they needed under their healthcare system, as compared to American respondents.
The recent poll confirms previous research indicating that Canada’s system of socialized medicine results in slower and lower-quality care. A 2018 report by the Fraser Institute found that the average Canadian patient had to wait 19.8 weeks from referral by a general practitioner to treatment by a specialist for “medically necessary” procedures. In less-populated areas of Canada such as New Brunswick, the average wait time was as high as 45.1 weeks.
Meanwhile, in the United States, almost 77 percent of Americans are able to be treated by a specialist within four weeks of a referral and just 6 percent have to wait longer than two months. Canada’s comparatively high wait times are exacerbated by shortages of both equipment and doctors caused in large part by government overregulation.
Advocates of “Medicare For All” policies in the United States such as Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have often praised Canada for its largely government-controlled healthcare system. In Canada, although private insurance is allowed, the government-run public insurance program is mandatory and covers nearly all of the costs of hospitals and physicians’ offices. In exchange, Canadians pay significantly higher tax rates than Americans to cover the public healthcare costs, despite receiving lower-quality care.
The poll results should raise more concerns about the policies contained in the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, recently passed by Democrats, which adds new regulations and continues to increase the influence of the federal government over the U.S. healthcare system at the expense of taxpayers.
The evidence across countries shows clearly that overbearing government involvement in the healthcare system results in worse outcomes for patients and consumers.