"Free" health care costs average families $12,000 per year

By: Cliff Ritter on August 21, 2015

One of the many things Canadians love about our country is the fairly comprehensive health care everyone has access to without having to pay out of pocket. Of course the money has to come from somewhere and for Canadians, health care costs are generally hidden within taxes where it's hard to tell exactly how much you're actually paying for the service. Now a new study by the Fraser Institute has shed some light on the matter.

The Price of Public Health Care Insurance is the title of the report the Institute released yesterday with the intention of helping Canadians better understand how the government spends their hard-earned tax dollars. It uses data from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

According to the study, a family of two parents and two children with a combined income of $120,000 will pay $12,000 for health care in 2015, while an individual earning a more modest $42,244 will pay $4,222.

Here are the full results: 

Family Type:Average Household
Cash Income
Health Care Insurance
Unattached individuals$42,244$4,222
2 adults, 0 children$104,339$11,767
2 parents, 1 child$121,701$12,055
2 parents, 2 children$119,082$11,735
1 parent, 1 child$54,821$4,641
1 parent, 2 children$53,209$3,789

Going off of these numbers it appears Canadians are paying on average about 9.7% of their incomes for health care alone.

Bacchus Barua, co-author of the study and senior economist in the Fraser Institute's Centre for Health Policy studies, also points out that the current health care system is unsustainable. Costs have increased by 48.5 per cent over the past decade, far outpacing increases in income (30.8 per cent), shelter (35.9 per cent) and food (18.2 per cent).

Barua: "Over the past decade, the cost of health care in Canada has grown 1.6 times faster than average income[...] When health-care insurance is growing faster than income, it's an indication you can't sustain it."

Barua hopes that the report will help Canadians be more critical of the health care system, which given the upcoming election might be an important factor in determining which candidate is right for you.

The Fraser Institute is an independent, non-partisan public policy think-tank.

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