Busting myths about Canadian healthcare

This article is from The Incidental Economist, to visit the website: click here

June 5, 2011

Paul Krugman has been on a tear the last few days with a number of posts defending Canada’s Medicare. This was all leading up to his latest column, where he questioned why Medicare should be unsustainable in this country, when it’s sustainable there.

I’m sure we’re going to now face the usual howls of protest, comparing Canada’s health care system to a death sentence. So let me summarize a few of my past posts to try and pre-empt some of the false rhetoric.

1) Doctors in Canada are not flocking to the US to practice

So when emigration “spiked,” 400-500 doctors were leaving Canada for the United States. There are more than 800,000 physicians in the U.S. right now, so I’m skeptical that every doctor knows one of those emigres. But I’d especially like you to pay attention to the yellow line, which is the net loss of doctors to Canada.

2) Canadians are not flocking here to get care

Look, I’m not denying that some people with means might come to the United States for care. If I needed a heart/lung transplant, there’s no place I’d rather be. But for the vast, vast majority of people, that’s not happening. You shouldn’t use the anecdote to describe things at a population level. This study showed you three different methodologies, all with solid rationales behind them, all showing that this meme is mostly apocryphal.

To read the rest of this article and to see the accompanying graphs, please click here.

Keywords: healthcare, doctors