Tens of thousands of Canadians flee Canada

Canada is amongst the top countries in the world when it comes to safety and security. So what could be so bad that it enticed tens of thousands of Canucks to flee the country in 2013?

How about socialized healthcare?

With public health services provided across the country, and private alternatives illegal in many of them, Canadians are not allowed to maintain their health by paying money. Of course the bills still need to be paid – after all, public healthcare is not a synonym for “free” healthcare. Some services and operations cost more than what the government remunerates doctors and hospitals for them, leading to shortages and waiting lines.

To deal with these shortages and long lines, nearly 42,000 Canadians opted to pay for their own operations by fleeing the country to seek services elsewhere. Waiting times for patients who had consulted with specialists increased to 9.6 weeks in 2013, up from 9.3 weeks the previous year. As the Fraser Institute recently reported , sick Canadians have fled the country to avoid “the consequences of waiting for care such as worsening of their condition, poorer outcomes following treatment, disability or death. And some may have done so simply to avoid delay and to make a quicker return to their life.”

No one would tolerate such wait times for something as simple as, say, buying clothes, so why do tens of millions of Canadians stand for it with something as important as healthcare?

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16 Responses to “Tens of thousands of Canadians flee Canada”

  1. Jerry says:

    "But the bottom line is that most workers opt out of the union when given the choice, leading to the conclusion that the majority do not feel they need the unions help to get decent wages and benefits.

    Read Economics in One Lesson by Hazlitt on this topic. Raise the wages for some at the expense of someone else.

  2. Jerry says:

    What is the amount of tax a 30 k income that would go to health care?
    50 k?

    What if the system was opened up to permit an individual (and doctors too) to opt out of the universal system and seek his own insurance and medical needs?

    How many individuals would stay? How many doctors would opt out?

    • As far as opting out, I think a good real world example would be the legislative push by Governor Walker of Wisconsin allowing public workers to opt out of unions. The actual details are well explained here:

      But the bottom line is that most workers opt out of the union when given the choice, leading to the conclusion that the majority do not feel they need the unions help to get decent wages and benefits.

      I'm certain the same would happen in the Canadian Health Care system, and an infinitely long list of public programs in the US and worldwide that people are required to pay into, e.g., the biggest example in the US would be Social Security. I'm sure it would be second to Obamacare, but Obamacare is not yet the sole choice, and is not mandatory (yet).

      • David Howden says:

        Daniel O'Connell:

        that's a pretty good first step – something like the Charter School movement. Let people choose where to send their taxes and see where they end up. Of course, since not all Canadian provinces offer a private healthcare alternative it would need some additional "loosening up" to give people options, but it's a start!

  3. The Narrator says:

    "(Since it is not so difficult to come up with a good blog criticizing Canadian healthcare, why not take a stab at it?) "
    Eh, I never expressed any interest in writing a blog post on Canadian health care, you did. And I showed that your post is a bad one, that your point that Canadian socialized health care was what enticed tens of thousands of Canucks to flee the country in 2013 was not actually remotely substantiated by anything in your post or the article it referred to.

    Then instead of responding to my criticism by responding to my actual points or by saying something like "Mmmh, yeah, I guess I got a bit too excited there and now understand that I don't give good arguments for that point. Let me correct the post or write a new one" you try to evade the criticisms and pull some rhetorical tricks ('why not take a stab at it?" "maybe you could have some sympathy for that 1%", "don't you think that is a problem?"

    • David Howden says:

      So, just to get this straight, are you saying that, 1) forcing someone to pay for a service, and then 2a) providing a shabby service, enticing them to "flee" to seek better or more immediate services to preserve their health, or 2b) not reimbursing them because they were out of the country for healthcare services provided, is not a problem? Because that seems like a pretty big problem to me.

      • The Narrator says:

        I find it bizarre and embarrassing that you either actually think that this is even remotely what I wrote or intended or that you apparently feel free and comfortable enough to so blatantly and hopelessly try to distort what I wrote or even just make up stuff.

        Why not just respond to the points that I actually make?

        My opinion of you and your intellectual honesty has taken a turn for the much worse as a result of this exchange.

  4. The Narrator says:

    How is that even remotely a response to the specific points I make? (namely that we're talking about <1%, that the majority of that <1% was already in the US for other reasons, that a minority of that <1% goes to the US for reasons of confidentiality, that terms like 'fleeing the country' are hyperbolic).

    Btw, if a majority of that <1% was already in the US for different reasons and a minority goes there for reasons of confidentiality and the total number was 42,000 then it is highly doubtful (though not impossible, also because already being in the US for different reasons need not exclude having a procedure done there because one is dissatisfied with Canadian health care) that it would even be possible that at least 20,000 (which is the minimum that would justify using 'tens of thousands') of those receiving treatment in the US because they are dissatisfied with Canadian health care.

    This is a terrible blog post, David. And it shouldn't be that difficult to come up with a good blog post criticizing Canadian health care.

  5. The Narrator says:

    So from the fact that less than one percent of Canadians who received care went to the US for that care you somehow conclude that tens of thousands of Canadians are 'fleeing' Canada and then you speculate that they may do so because of the problems with the Canadian health care system.

    That's a pretty flimsy basis for such strong words and speculations.

    We're talking about less than one percent! And that in a country whose major cities nearly border the US.

    And really, they're "fleeing the country"? Or are they just having a procedure done taking them out of the country for a couple of days or in some cases, weeks?

    Moreover, Wikipedia says:

    Canadians visiting the US to receive health care[edit]
    Some residents of Canada travel to the United States for care. A study by Barer, et al., indicates that the majority of Canadians who seek health care in the U.S. are already there for other reasons, including business travel or vacations. A smaller proportion seek care in the U.S. for reasons of confidentiality, including abortions, mental illness, substance abuse, and other problems that they may not wish to divulge to their local physician, family, or employer.

    Canadian health care is pretty bad, this article is worse.

    • David Howden says:

      The Narrator:

      If tens of thousands of people would rather travel to another country and pay out of pocket for something they have already paid for through their taxes, then yes, I would categorize that as indicative that something has gone terribly wrong with the service provided.

    • David Howden says:

      Articles like this always make me wonder why we never see the analogous "Canada ranked last amongst OECD countries in clothes buying wait times." Actually, what is strange about it to me is that so few ever ask "why" are healthcare wait times a big deal and not in any other business?

  6. Having the unhealthy from the third world filling up our hospital emergency rooms is a major factor in health care costs. Why do we allow immigrants to bring in their parents and grandparents? On top of that we have boatloads of illegal immigrants and refugees to pay for too…

  7. Shining Shank says:

    In history and civics class when Canada's health care system is talked about it is thoroughly glorified and as a student it is hard to say such a thing is not true when you have little to no knowledge of alternatives from personal experience and all the other students argue with you with the teachers help and say you are somehow being unpatriotic.

  8. Steve says:

    Why do we tolerate.
    Well after 12 plus years f indoctrination most people simply believe what is dished out and unless they really step out of the box in their thinking then they just carry on.
    Even if you do realize their are options other than status quo by the time you figure it out you are into a mortgage and kids etc and your options are pretty limited
    .and what are they . move elsewhere and all that entails or fight the system,which uses your taxed energy against you if you are the nail that needs to be hammered down.with kids in university and high school and a wife who thinks I am going crackers with my libertarian bent mind, I am not going anywhere other than the looney bin if I don't keep quiet.

  9. Libertylover says:

    Perhaps it has something to do with almost one hundred years of Utopian social engineering by the federal government? Actually, we are a lot like Americans, hence the Obamacare disaster.

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