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IRA Financial Blog

Free Universal Health Care – Episode 211

free universal health care

IRA Financial’s Adam Bergman discusses the idea of free universal health care, his experience with it growing up in Canada and if it’s a viable option in the United States.

In his latest podcast, Mr. Bergman discusses the idea of free universal health care. Growing up in Canada (with family still there) he has firsthand knowledge about it. How does it work in Canada? Will it work here in the US? It’s a very personal podcast as he discusses his family’s health and how the Canadian health care system let him down.

Free Universal Health Care in Canada

Everyone knows that many countries offer free universal health care, including Canada. However, what many people are unaware of is just how it works. In Canada, for example, it’s hard to find a doctor. Their salaries are capped, so many choose to leave the country once they top out their earnings. Another portion simply stop working once they reach the cap. Therefore, many of them are not taking on new patients.

If you don’t have a doctor, you can’t get a referral, which creates an ugly circle. For example, Mr. Bergman’s aunt had to switch group homes. Her old doctor was associated with the old home. Unfortunately, the new home did not have a doctor. The unfortunate part for many Canadians is the inability to find a new doctor. There is a waiting list of over 100,000 to get a new doctor!

As Mr. Bergman states in the podcast, “It’s a great system if you’re healthy.” Once you’re in need to medical care, it can prove to be difficult. Essentially, the doctors run the show. They’re in need, so there are no repercussions for not being the most amenable people. Another example Mr. Bergman shares is about his father. He was told he could wait months to get his gall bladder removed. When it was finally done, there were complications. He developed sepsis and his doctor was fired and finally got the help he needed. A month went by and Mr. Bergman’s father was finally informed he had cancer. However, he could not get the care he needed in Canada because of patient backlog and had to come to the US and pay out of pocket to get it treated.

What Does This Mean?

The takeaway from Mr. Bergman’s person experiences is that no system is perfect. Essentially, you get what you pay for. Free universal health care is great when you get a cold, but when need major care, it can prove to be quite difficult to get it. We want to emphasize that it’s usually not the doctors’ fault, it’s the system. When you decide to become a doctor, you do it because you want to help people. However, sometimes the system handcuffs well-meaning people.

The difference between the US and Canadian health care system is accountability. If you are in the hospital in the US, you can go grab a nurse to help you. If they’re not doing their job, they will face disciplinary actions. On the other hand, in Canada, you simply can’t do that. The nurse will get to you when he or she can. It’s a broken system that has no easy fix. The concern is that when you need the care, it will not be there for you.

Will Free Universal Health Care Work in the US?

Democratic presidential hopefuls, including Senators Warren and Sanders talk a lot about bringing free universal health care to this country if elected. They have elaborate plans to fund the system. But will it work? Most experts believe it’s a pipe dream. In fact, when compared to Canada, the United States already pay higher taxes, without free health care and low cost higher education. Currently, the highest tax rate in the US is at 37%, while only 33% in Canada. The idea of taxing the rich to pay for health care is not one that will go over well with wealthy.

As Mr. Bergman can attest to, free universal health care may not be as ideal as it sounds. The system needs to work. There must be accountability and the health professionals must care. On the flip side, should American families have to pay $500-$1000 or more for health care every month? Health care that they may not even need for months or years at a time? There has to be some sort of middle ground that policy makes can reach. Affordable health care should be available to every American.


In the end, it’s not about money or politics; it’s about people. Mr. Bergman can only share his personal experience with the system. Obviously, opinions will vary from person to person. We can all agree that every living person should have care afforded to them. Especially those that need it the most.

We know this is a hot-button issue and welcome all comments and experiences about it. Is free universal health care in the US a pipe dream or an eventuality? No one can say for certain right now!

Thanks for listening to a more personal podcast from Adam Bergman. Be sure to check out all of our previous podcasts on our SoundCloud page. If you have anything you would like to share, please contact us!


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