Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

Canadian health care: Wait and wait and wait and wait

Government health care

During a speech last week to the American Medical Association, President Barack Obama said,
I'll be honest; there are countries where a single-payer (health care) system works pretty well."

I would hope he wasn’t referring to Canada.

A new report from Canada shows continued serious problems with waiting times in five priority health care areas in the country that provides care for all of its citizens.

The Wait Time Alliance (WTA) is comprised of 13 medical associations including the Canadian Medical Association. The WTA has released its annual report card assessing the amount if time between when a patient is referred by a family doctor to when treatment is provided by specialist. The report has been issued annually since 2004 when the governments of Canada decided to improve wait times for health care and appropriated $6 billion to the effort. Canada’s provinces and federal governments agreed to attempt to reduce wait times in five critical areas: hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery, heart bypass surgery, MRI and CT imaging, and radiation therapy for cancer patients. 

The WTA reported, “Although there are signs of improvement, the lack of uniform and timely information on wait times is just one symptom of the ‘unfinished business’ relating to wait times in Canada.” The findings are a serious indictment of the quality of care provided by a government-run health care system. reports:

For cancer patients, the study found that the median wait time for radiation therapy was almost seven weeks, exceeding the benchmark of four weeks. Patients are also facing long delays when they go to the emergency department, the WTA said, waiting an average of nine hours to be seen and treated and for patients who needed to be admitted, the average wait time was nearly 24 hours. Wait times for psychiatric care are also well beyond the maximum wait-time benchmark of four weeks, the study said. Patients with major depression are waiting almost six weeks to start treatment with a psychiatrist.”

The WTA report found the following wait time in days for the following specialties:

Corneal transplant: 636 days

Adult strabismus surgery: 450 days

Total knee arthroplasty: 312 days

Chronic diarrhea or chronic constipation: 260 days

Pelvic prolapse: 250 days

Urinary incontinence: 247 days

Total hip arthroplasty: 247 days

There seems to be little, if any hope conditions will get better. “
The WTA study also asked specialists for their opinion on future wait-times and 62% believe that wait times to access specialty care will increase over the next 5 years.”

America can and should learn from Canada’s failures and reject calls for government-run health care. So should the state of Wisconsin. State Senate democrats have been pushing for government health care at the state level.

Here is the WTA report, “Unfinished Business: Report Card on Wait Times in Canada.”

Here is an article from

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