Do Canadians leave their country to get their surgeries done in America?

The universal health care system of Canada, Canadian Medicare, generally receives pleasant reviews from supporters of socialized or nationalized health care, however, the Fraser Institute discovered that over 63 thousand Canadians left their country in order to have surgery in 2016.

As the Americans think of overturning our health system in favor of one similar to that of Canada’s, we must question why so many Canadians leave their own country.

The Canadian system constantly ranks low or even lowest across various metrics in the Commonwealth Fund’s broad survey on health care. With regards to surgeries and specialists, the US ranked best or close to best.

The Fraser Institute study did not scrutinize where the people traveled from Canada to have their surgery, however, given proximity & our much better metrics, most probably came here.

After the patients are seen by the surgeon, then the surgeries are scheduled, and the majority of the people see surgeons only after a referral by either their general practitioner in Canada or their primary care physician in America. In the US, 70 percent of patients are able to be seen by specialists in a period of fewer than 4 weeks after a referral. In Canada, less than 40 percent were seen inside of four weeks.

After being advised that they need surgery done, only about 35 percent of Canadians had their surgery within a month, while in the US, 61 percent did. After 4 months, about 97 percent of Americans were able to have their surgery, while barely 80 percent of patients in Canada received surgery.

In surgery wait times, America is considerably outperforming Canada even as it’s likely that tens of thousands of patients from Canada come here to use the American system.

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