In 2017, Canadians were on waiting lists for an estimated 1,040,791 total procedures. Often, wait times are lengthy. For example, the median wait time for arthroplastic surgery (hip, knee, ankle, shoulder) ranges from 20 weeks to 52 weeks.
In the British National Health Service, cancelations are common. Last year, the National Health Service canceled 84,827 elective operations in England for nonclinical reasons on the day the patient was due to arrive. The same year, it canceled 4,076 urgent operations in England, including 154 urgent operations canceled two or more times. Times of high illness are a key driver in this problem. For instance, in flu season, the National Health Service canceled 50,000 “non-urgent” surgeries.
In Canada, private insurance is outlawed (as it would be under Sanders’ proposal). In 2017, “an estimated 63,459 Canadians received non-emergency medical treatment outside Canada.” In Britain, private insurance is permitted—but it is an additional cost to the taxes that British citizens pay for the National Health Service. Escaping the system is an option for the wealthy, or for those who are willing to forego other expenditures to get the care they want or need.
A system cannot conduct healing, and refuses to take care of the sick. This has a great deal to do with humanity, and deviations from health care.