Thursday, March 08, 2007

Not Dying While Waiting in Line: Priceless

I've taken to editing Wikipedia's article on the Canadian health care system. Seeing that Clinton's campaign will most likely sound a call to emulate Canada's system, this seems like a good place to clean up a little.

We shouldn't be too surprised that one of the consequences of our northern neighbor's system are lengthy wait times for even the most routine of procedures. Donald Loritz (who appears to lean in favor of the system) pointed to this information concerning Canadian wait times. Now the data (which Donald describes as "the best recent information on Canadian wait times") are poorly presented and not very flattering. Lengths of time include fuzzy language like "within 30 days," wide ranges such as "34-177 days" and strangely presented numbers including "57-100%" (a reference to the percent of wait times for cardiovascular/cardiac surgeries that did not exceed various benchmark goals). There's not even any aggregate data (the closest they get are vague estimates broken down by province, ranging from one month to twelve).

Here's an inkling of the Canadian wait times for health care.

Cardiovascular/Cardiac Surgery: 3-182 days (Nova Scotia)
Bypass Surgery: 17 days, 27 days, 62 days (Ontario, three were listed)
Bypass Surgery: 24 days (British Columbia)
CT and MRI Scan: 80 days (Alberta)
CT and MRI Scan: 7 days, 105 days (Prince Edward Island; "urgent" and "routine," respectively)
Joint Replacement: 95 days, 127 days, 281 days (Ontario, three were listed)
Sight Restoration: 56 days (British Columbia)
Chemotherapy: 2.1-8.4 weeks (Ontario)

This is why I'm not surprised when I hear people die waiting for care under the Canadian system. Some things are worth paying for.

1 comment:

jeremy h. said...

Don't worry David, Hillary has a secret plan "to get everybody to the front of the line." I hear she will also make everyone above average in intelligence.