Medical Tuesday Blog

The Cost of Waiting for Canadian Medicare

May 30

Written by: Del Meyer
05/30/2018 12:33 AM 

The Private Cost of Public Queues for Medically Necessary Care, 2018

Authors: Bacchus Barua, Associate Director, Health Policy Studies, Fraser Institute

Sazid Hasan, Economist, Fraser Institute

— Published on May 23, 2018

We frequently hear of the benefits of socialized medical care. We hear of proposals of “Medicare For All.” Periodically we reference what Medicare-for-all really is as in Canadian Medicare. When anything is free, there is always overutilization (Medical Gluttony) which then creates a waiting list and delayed care. The Fraser Institute has calculated how expensive free care ultimately becomes. Read on for reality. You may also like to access the entire report at


  • One measure of the privately borne cost of wait times is the value of time that is lost while waiting for treatment.
  • Valuing only hours lost during the average work week, the estimated cost of waiting for care in Canada for patients who were in the queue in 2017 was about $1.9 billion. This works out to an average of about $1,822 for each of the estimated 1,040,791 Canadians waiting for treatment in 2017.
  • This is a conservative estimate that places no intrinsic value on the time individuals spend waiting in a reduced capacity outside of the work week. Valuing all hours of the week, including evenings and weekends but excluding eight hours of sleep per night, would increase the estimated cost of waiting to $5.8 billion, or about $5,559 per person.
  • This estimate only counts costs that are borne by the individual waiting for treatment. The costs of care provided by family members (the time spent caring for the individual waiting for treatment) and their lost productivity due to difficulty or mental anguish are not valued in this estimate. Moreover, non-monetary medical costs, such as increased risk of mortality or ad-verse events that result directly from long delays for treatment, are not included in this estimate.
  • Read the Full Report

Feedback . . .
Subscribe MedicalTuesday . . .
Subscribe HealthPlanUSA . . .

Canadian Medicare does not give timely access to healthcare, it only gives access to a waiting list.

–Canadian Supreme Court Decision 2005 SCC 35, [2005] 1 S.C.R. 791

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *