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Health Care in Canada Expensive and Below Average: Fraser Institute

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

According to a study by the Fraser Institute, the Canadian health care system is among the poorest performing universal systems in the OECD.

The study compared health care in 28 countries.

The Fraser Institute concluded despite the low rating Canadians pay some of the highest rates for health care but receive care that is average or below average.

Using a "value for money approach” the study compares 28 "universal health care systems in high income countries".

The areas examined by the study were:

- availability of resources

- use of resources

- access to resources

- quality and clinical performance

Canadians spend more on health care than the majority of OECD countries.

In fact, the report says, if you're over 65 in Canada health care cost is the "second highest for expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP and eighth highest for health-care expenditure per capita" compared to other countries.

The study also found Canada has "substantially fewer human and capital medical resources" than many other countries with a similar standard of living and health care costs.

That means fewer physicians, acute-care beds, and psychiatric beds per capita compared to the average of other OECD countries.

Canada shows well in some aspects, ranking close to the average for nurses and ranking 8th out of the 28 OECD countries in the study and the 3rd most Gamma Cameras.

When it comes to other medical technologies though, Canada has less than average for countries of similar wealth.

Canada does well with procedures like cataract surgery and knee replacement but it ranks close to last on 4 of 4 indicators for timeliness of care and 7th of 10 countries according to patients who reported that cost was a barrier to access.

Canada compares well to other OECD countries in areas such as breast, colon, and rectal cancers but average in obstetric traumas, and worse when it comes to diabetes related amputations.

The Fraser Institute report suggests there is an imbalance between the "value Canadians receive and the relatively high amount of money they spend" on their healthcare system when being compared to other OECD countries.

"Canada ranks among the most expensive universal-access health-care systems in the OECD, its performance for availability and access to resources is generally below that of the average OECD country"

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