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Health

Canada remains poor performer among countries with universal health care

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4 minute read

From the Fraser Institute

By Mackenzie Moir and Bacchus Barua

Canada reported far fewer physicians (ranking 28th of 30) and hospital beds (23rd of 29) per 1,000 people in 2021. And ranked low for the availability of MRI machines (25th of 29) and CT scanners (26thof 30) per million people in 2019

Earlier this year, the Trudeau government announced it will increase health-care spending to provinces and territories by $196.1 billion over the next decade. But patients hoping for improved access will likely be disappointed. In reality, Canada’s health-care system already ranks as one of the most expensive systems in the world, but only has mediocre results to show for it. In other words, the problem isn’t the amount of money we spend, it’s the poor value we get for our health-care dollars.

A new study compared the spending and performance of Canada’s system with 29 other universal health-care systems worldwide. According to the study (after adjusting for population age in each country), Canada was the highest spender on health care as a share of the economy (at 12.6 per cent) and ninth-highest on a per person basis in 2021, the latest year of available data.

And yet, compared to other universal countries, Canada reported far fewer physicians (ranking 28th of 30) and hospital beds (23rd of 29) per 1,000 people in 2021. And ranked low for the availability of MRI machines (25th of 29) and CT scanners (26thof 30) per million people in 2019 (the latest year of available data).

Unsurprisingly, scarce health-care resources are accompanied by long wait times. Using data collected in 2020 by the Commonwealth Fund, the study found that only 38 per cent of Canadians reported waiting less than four weeks for a specialist appointment—a much smaller percentage than countries such as Switzerland (68 per cent) and Germany (67 per cent). On this indicator, Canada ranked 10th out of 10 countries. Canada also ranked dead last (10th) on timely access to elective surgery—with 62 per cent of Canadians reporting waiting less than four months—compared to 99 per cent of Germans and 94 per cent of Swiss.

While these results were disappointing, Canada reported mixed results in other areas of performance. For example, although Canada performed poorly on safety indicators such as obstetric trauma during birth (23rd of 23 countries), it performed above the OECD average on other indicators including heart attack survival rates (9th of 25 countries). But while the Canadian system has in some areas performed in line with its high spending levels, overall it’s struggled to meet many of its basic obligations—especially timely access to care.

With its latest increase in health-care spending, the Trudeau government again ignores the fact that Canada already has one of the most expensive universal health-care systems in the world. And although some of this new spending is predicated on provinces tracking progress and demonstrating improvement on certain indicators, international data reveal a simple truth—Canadians do not receive commensurate value for their health-care dollars. Without fundamental reform, it’s unlikely the new spending promised by the Trudeau government will produce improved performance for Canadian patients and their families.

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MAiD

Canadian pro-life groups hold rally on Parliament Hill to protest euthanasia for mental illness

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

‘The implementation of euthanasia for the mentally ill must not simply be delayed for three years, it must be entirely stopped,’ Campaign Life Coalition national president Jeff Gunnarson said.

A number of top pro-life groups, including Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), held a rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Tuesday to call for protection of the mentally ill from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s euthanasia regime.  

On February 27, CLC joined Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) and Quebec Life Coalition along with other legal and medical experts to demand that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau permanently pause the expansion of MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying) to the mentally ill. 

“While we accept this delay, the fact is that euthanasia solely on the grounds of mental illness should never have been legally permitted in the first place,” said CLC national president Jeff Gunnarson in a press release. “Those suffering from mental illness need compassionate care, not killing.” 

“The implementation of euthanasia for the mentally ill must not simply be delayed for three years, it must be entirely stopped,” he added. 

During the rally, Dr. Paul Saba urged Canadians to oppose MAiD, arguing “we should be providing better care and not be killing the disabled.” 

Similarly, human rights lawyer Garifalia Milousis condemned the MAiD laws, revealing that she was “here today because thankfully in my moment of suffering no one came to me and said ‘maybe assisted suicide is the solution.’” 

Milousis warned that if the MAiD laws are expanded, “someone like myself in a moment of deep despair and depression and psychological suffering” would be told there is no hope for them and death is the only solution.  

“Instead of us coming alongside those individuals and saying that there is hope; there is meaning, and there is purpose to their lives,” she said “We’re instead going to say ‘maybe depression is right; maybe there isn’t any hope for you anymore.’”  

In January, after a lot of pushback from pro-life, medical, and mental health groups as well as most of Canada’s provinces, the federal government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delayed its planned expansion of MAiD to those suffering solely from mental illness from March of this year until 2027.    

Shortly after, Liberal Health Minister Mark Holland announced the Trudeau government still intends to expand euthanasia to mentally ill Canadians, despite provincial health ministers requesting the measure be “indefinitely” postponed.    

The provision, if and when it is implemented, will relax legislation around so-called MAiD to include those suffering solely from mental illness. This is a result of the 2021 passage of Bill C-7, which allowed the chronically ill – not just the terminally ill – to qualify for so-called doctor-assisted death.   

However, many experts have warned against the MAiD expansion, including leading Canadian psychiatrist Dr. K. Sonu Gaind, who testified that the expansion of MAiD “is not so much a slippery slope as a runaway train.”   

Similarly, in November, several Canadian psychiatrists warned that the country is “not ready” for the coming expansion of euthanasia to those who are mentally ill. They said that further liberalizing the procedure is not something that “society should be doing” as it could lead to deaths under a “false pretense.”  

The expansion of euthanasia to those with mental illness even has the far-left New Democratic Party (NDP) concerned. Dismissing these concerns, a Trudeau Foundation fellow actually said Trudeau’s current euthanasia regime is marked by “privilege,” assuring the Canadian people that most of those being put to death are “white,” “well off,” and “highly educated.”   

The most recent reports show that MAiD is the sixth highest cause of death. However, it was not listed as such in Statistics Canada’s top 10 leading causes of death from 2019 to 2022. When asked why MAiD was left off the list, the agency explained that it records the illnesses that led Canadians to choose to end their lives via euthanasia, not the actual cause of death, as the primary cause of death.  

According to Health Canada, in 2022, 13,241 Canadians died by MAiD lethal injections. This accounts for 4.1 percent of all deaths in the country for that year, a 31.2 percent increase from 2021.     

While the numbers for 2023 have yet to be released, all indications point to a situation even more grim than 2022.  

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COVID-19

Rather than studying reasons for excess deaths, UK government changes how it counts them

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From the YouTube channel of British health researcher Dr John Campbell

Back in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic swept country after country. Media outlets all over the western world led news casts with the numbers of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths associated with COVID. Politicians would seemingly move mountains in order to avoid a single pandemic related death, locking down businesses, shutting schools and restricting the movement of citizens.

About a year later, insurance companies began to notice much higher numbers of insurance claims made by families losing loved ones.  The most surprising aspect of these findings is that people dying from COVID-19 were only a small part of the increase.

Three years into this unexplained crisis, the numbers of excess deaths continue despite the fact COVID is no longer an important factor. It should be expected that this life and death issue would be at the forefront of concern for governments everywhere.  Instead as Dr. John Campbell explains, his government has decided to change the way excess deaths are counted.

Notes from Dr. Campbell’s presentation

Massive APPARENT reduction in excess deaths in 2023 as UK ONS change how they calculate excess deaths.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulati… OECD, UK https://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?que… Excess deaths in 2022, 52,514 (9.26%)

OECD, UK,

weeks 1 – 44, 2023

Excess deaths, 49,389 (9.44%)

https://www.gov.uk/government/organis…

https://app.powerbi.com/view?r=eyJrIj…

Early heart disease deaths rise to 14-year high

https://www.bhf.org.uk/what-we-do/new…

Over 100,000 excess deaths involving cardiovascular conditions in England since February 2020

Heart and circulatory diseases cause around a quarter of all deaths in England – over 140,000 deaths each year or one death every four minutes.

In 2022 Over 39,000 people in England died prematurely of cardiovascular conditions, heart attacks, coronary heart disease and stroke, an average of 750 people each week.

It is the highest annual total since 2008.

 

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