‘Free’ health care? We pay a lot for it, re­port says

The Province - - NEWS | CANADA - BRAD HUNTER

A typ­i­cal Cana­dian fam­ily of four will pay a stag­ger­ing $12,935 for health care in 2018, a new Fraser In­sti­tute re­port sug­gests.

And our health-care sys­tem is far from be­ing a free ride.

The eye-open­ing data was re­leased Tues­day by the Fraser In­sti­tute. Among the find­ings: Most Cana­di­ans are un­aware of how much the med­i­cal ser­vices they use cost be­cause they never see a bill and may only pay a small pub­lic health in­sur­ance premium. Gov­ern­ment rev­enues fund health care so it’s nearly im­pos­si­ble to de­ter­mine how much of their taxes go to­ward med­i­cal care. The money comes from gen­eral gov­ern­ment rev­enue. Us­ing data culled from Statis­tics Canada and the Cana­dian In­sti­tute for Health In­for­ma­tion, the study shows a fam­ily of four with a house­hold in­come of $138,008 will pay a pock­et­book painful $12,935 for pub­lic health care in 2018. When ad­justed for in­fla­tion, that’s 68.5% in­crease since 1997, the first year es­ti­mates could be cal­cu­lated. A cou­ple earn­ing roughly $57,000 each would pay $12,878 an­nu­ally while a sin­gle par­ent with a child earn­ing $60,000 would pay $4,357, ac­cord­ing to Fraser. For sin­gle Cana­di­ans earn­ing less, the num­bers are starker: Their health care costs dou­bled from $2,115 (in 2018 dol­lars) to $4,460 this year. And dis­par­ity in in­comes also plays a fac­tor. The 10% of Cana­dian fam­i­lies with the low­est in­comes ($14,885 for an av­er­age house­hold) will pay $496 for health care this year. For Cana­dian house­holds in the top 10% (earn­ing $291,364 on av­er­age), their bill will be a bill of about $38,903.

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