Originally Published: July 30, 2009 9:38 p.m.
Daniel Hart recently asked about the Canadian health care system. I am a U.S. citizen but spent most of my life in Canada.
Let me first deal with Mr. Hart's second question. As in the U.S., Canadian tax rates increase according to the amount of taxable income. Provincial tax rates are higher than state tax rates, and you need to take them into account. These rates vary according to province. The combined rates (federal and provincial) are approximately 22.2, 32.6, 38.5 and 43 percent. For more information, go to www.cra-arc.gc.ca/. Download a Canadian tax return and fill one in for comparison. It is simpler than our U.S. return. Canadian income taxes are usually higher.
Now to the first question. While living in Canada, I never met a Canadian who would like to adopt the U.S. system. Since Canada is a democracy, if enough Canadians were dissatisfied, you would expect change in the system.
The system is not perfect and experiences abuses and occasional shortages. For example: Canadians loaning their documents to U.S. friends so that they can access free health care in Canada. Shortages result from a brain drain of doctors to the U.S., particularly specialists to some of the best U.S. medical center. Many critics of the Canadian system have a vested interest in denigrating the Canadian system and tend to seize on isolated incidents and imply that is the norm.
Finally, statistics indicate that Canadians live longer.