Where would you rather get sick – in the U.S. or in Canada?

by Carolyn Thomas

I have an ever-so-slightly jaded view of American health care since spending time at Mayo Clinic. While there, I met an alarming number of heart attack survivors from across the U.S. – yes, even those who thought they had good health insurance coverage  – who had lost their homes, their businesses, and faced collection agencies at the door or even imminent bankruptcy because they’d had a cardiac event that had left them with crushing medical debt.

Last month in Toronto, the 5th semi-annual Munk Debate featured the Great Health Care Debate resolution: “I would rather get sick in the United States than in Canada.”  Here are some of the pros and cons raised by each side during this debate:

I would rather get sick in the U.S. because:

  • The U.S. spends 87% more per person than Canada on health care ($7,290/patient vs. $3,895).
  • 54% of American men had PSA tests for prostate cancer. Only 16% of Canadian men did.
  • There are 34 CT scanners per million citizens in the U.S. In Canada, only 12.
  • There are 27 MRI machines per million citizens in the U.S. compared to just six in Canada.
  • Canadians wait twice as long as Americans for elective surgery like hip replacements.
  • The U.S. is responsible for the vast majority of health care innovations, both medically and technologically. They are the world’s undisputed leaders in biomedical research and diagnostic treatment.

But on the other hand, here’s why it’s better to get sick in CanadaContinue reading “Where would you rather get sick – in the U.S. or in Canada?”