By Arjun Singh
Canadians are far less confident they can access healthcare through their publicly-run system than Americans are with largely private care, per a new poll released on Wednesday.
The poll, conducted by the Angus Reid Institute showed that just 37% of Canadians were confident that they could access healthcare when needed, while 61% said they weren’t confident. By comparison, 70% of Americans said they were confident they could access healthcare, while 25%said they were not.
Moreover, 41% of Canadians within the last six months said they have had a “difficult time” accessing or were unable to access one of five critical types of care – including emergency services, surgery, and specialist appointments, per the poll.
Within these categories, Canadians reported that specialist appointments were the most difficult to access, with 58% saying it was either “very difficult” or “impossible” to obtain them. This was followed by emergency care and surgery, with 51% reporting such difficulty.
The problem was most pronounced among young people (ages 18 to 34), with 70% reporting difficulties.
By contrast, most Americans reported ease of access to these facilities; merely 27% reported difficulty accessing a specialist, with the figures for emergency care and surgery being 20% and 25%, respectively. Among young people, 50% between the ages of 18 and 34 reported difficulty accessing care.
Run by individual provinces, and funded nearly entirely by taxes, Canadians have faced record wait times to access essential services, a problem that has grown during the Covid-19 pandemic. “Hallway healthcare” is a term that has emerged, describing situations where patients cannot get hospital beds and must be treated in hospital hallways.
“We’re very concerned and our members are very concerned. Our health care system on any given day is in crisis,” Adriane Gear of the British Columbia Nurses Union, which represents nurses in Canada’s third-largest province, to Chek News. In Saskatchewan, a Western province, some hospitals have been over “200% plus over capacity,” per Tracy Zambory, who heads that province’s nursing union, to CBC News.
Alecs Chochinov, a doctor in Winnipeg, Manitoba, told the National Post that the “system is not viable in the longer-term at this rate of decline.”
Numerous American politicians have often pointed to Canada’s public healthcare system as a model for proposals for a “Medicare-for-all” system – i.e., a federally-run public health insurance system across the United States, replacing private insurance plans.
The Angus Reid Institute conducted the poll in August, receiving responses from 2,279 Canadians and 1,209 Americans. The Canadian findings had a margin of error of plus or minus 2%, while the U.S. results had a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.
Neither the Canadian Medical Association nor Sanders’s office has responded to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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