Is Canadian Healthcare Affordable? A Comparative Analysis of the Canadian Healthcare System from 2004 to 2014.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To compare cost-related non-adherence (CRNA), serious problems paying medical bills and average annual out-of-pocket cost over time in five countries. METHODS Repeated cross-sectional analysis of the Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy survey from 2004 to 2014. Responses were compared between Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the US. RESULTS Compared to the UK, respondents in Canada, Australia and New Zealand were two to three times and respondents in the US were eight times more likely to experience CRNA; these odds remained stable over time. From 2004 to 2014, Canadian respondents paid US $852-1,767 out-of-pocket for care. The US reported the largest risks of serious problems paying for care (13-18.5%), highest out-of-pocket costs (US $2,060-3,319) and greatest rise in expenditures. INTERPRETATION Over the 10-year period, financial barriers to care were identified in Canada and internationally. Such persistent challenges are of great concern to countries striving for equitable access to healthcare.

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