Most Canadians likely know they pay some amount to sustain our public health-care system. However, they probably don’t know how much.
We aren’t billed directly for health services, and we have nothing that even closely approximates a dedicated health insurance tax that fully funds the system. While premiums (in provinces that have them) help remind taxpayers of the cost of the system, they likely exacerbate the confusion because they only cover a fraction of the true cost of health care and are not earmarked for health spending—they just go to general government revenue.
This has led to a misperception that our health-care system is cheap, or in some cases “free”—which, of course, is far from the truth.
A recent study by the Fraser Institute attempted to help Canadian families better understand how much they pay for public health-care insurance every year. Using data from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the study estimates that the average Canadian family (two parents, two children) with a household income of $138,008 will pay $12,935 for public health care this year, while a single individual (earning $44,348) can expect to pay $4,640.