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Why Healthcare Costs Trillions Less in Canada

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 15, 2012

And this is despite the fact that in Canada, there are many more smokers than in the U.S., although the demographics of poverty, arguably, are much different than they are south of the Canadian border.

So how do Canadians save so much money on healthcare?

Woolhandler tells me that the overriding secrets seem to be two-fold.

First, she says, primary care physicians far outnumber specialists in Canada relative to their ratios in the United States. That translates to less invasive care and fewer surgeries and a more medical approach to treatment to keep conditions from worsening.

"What we do know is that primary care-based healthcare systems tend to be thriftier. We know that from international evidence, as well as evidence from within the U.S.," she says.

"I'm a primary care doctor," she adds. "And when my patients need specialists, I rely on those specialists and appreciate them. But you need to have an ample supply of primary care doctors and focus on primary care, and that’s one of the things that works so much better in Canada."

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12 comments on "Why Healthcare Costs Trillions Less in Canada"


Dan Ross (11/26/2012 at 4:31 PM)
On a population basis this study appears right on. Notice the study makes no comparison of the survival time for Canadian citizens afflicted with serious disease? A better question may be, if one diagnosed with advanced ?? and covered by Medicare would he/she chose the medical expertise of Canada or the US? In Florida our hospitals enjoy a booming business of Canadians traveling for advanced medical treatments. How long does a patient in the Canadian national system have to wait for a MRI when their GP suspects possible brain cancer? In the UK it's 3 months. In the US 3-4 days? Other countries are cheaper for the reasons highlighted in the study but additionally due to the R word, rationing!

Sue (11/21/2012 at 10:47 AM)
this artical is false, misleading and a joke

emil cici (11/19/2012 at 7:40 PM)
When was the last time the Canadian System developed a major surgical or device break thru? Why do Canadians cross over the border into the US for surgical procedures.Including the Canadian Prime Minister? When was the last time a Canadian Company developed a major drug that significantly impacted a disease entity?