Canada has had a national government run health care system since the mid-1960's.
I remember when it was first brought in my late father saying he was happy that we would have health care coverage BECAUSE IN THE EVENT OF A MAJOR ILLNESS YOU WOULD NOT LOSE YOUR HOME, LIVE SAVINGS OR FACE BANKRUPTCY.
Since that time the program has been enhanced and yes we pay taxes for the system and in the province of BC monthly premiums based on income - anyone under about $24,000.00 pays no premiums but still receives the same level of care. Those under $30,000 - myself included pay reduced premiums.
Is it the best system - no - it was never meant to be womb to tomb health care although many people seem to think that is what it is. It never was intended to cover everything.
Yes it is expensive - it eats up about 40% of the provincial government revenue yet we have a budget surplus - the federal government provides a good chunk of the costs through a transfer of tax points - except for the last few years when the recession hit - the Canadian government was running surpluses and should return to them next year - this despite my distaste for the current federal government.
I bring this up as i alluded to a post around Xmas that my best friend had been hospitalized since the end of October and he is still in St Paul's although he is just waiting to be moved to a transition place to work on his rehab and get him up and walking.
What has it cost him directly to date. NOTHING!!! His only cost has been his TV rental.
While these figures are general - here is a rough cost breakdown of his stay
6 weeks in ICU = 42 days at about $4000.00 a day = $168.000
14 weeks in a general 4 bed ward = 98 days at $1500.00 a day =$147.000
and that doesn't include the cost of the pacemaker which I believe is around $6000.00
So over $300,000 spent and he isn't bankrupt and the government isn't going broke.
But then we here in Canada would rather spend our money on health care than military spending.
It is all about priorities - health care or military spending - thankfully successive Canadian governments of different political stripes from left leaning liberals to reform minded conservatives have made the right choice.