Friday, March 28, 2008

Just a Bit of Food for Thought on Healthcare and Taxes

Awhile back I was in a discussion on a homeschooling board about Universal health care. One of the concerns that came up was the personal cost. Sure, you wouldn't have the enormous insurance payments but you'd be paying extra taxes right? I thought I'd post what I did, way back when, in response because HE&OS has a related discussion happening and so I might as well throw the information out into the blogosphere for any who are interested.

Information on Canadian federal tax rates here.

Information on US federal tax rates here.
From my post:

Our private insurance (through my husband's employer) that covers the things health care doesn't is about $70 a month. That's %80 of drugs, dentist visits (%50 for major stuff like root canals), etc.

Okay, so I just did the math on what a Canadian earning $37, 885 would pay in federal taxes as opposed to an American.
Here's what I found...

Canadian tax - $5682
American tax - $5273

So the American rate is lower...But my gosh, not by much (someone check my math!). What's a monthly insurance premium in the US?? I'm actually a little stunned. I thought Americans paid a lot less then we do.

Now I'm calculating an income for about $75,000 and it looks like a Canadian would pay about $13, 500 and an American just over $15,000? I went higher. At 155,000 dollars a year the two are still very close at about $35,000 each. I must be doing something wrong...Or I've been listening too much to people who claim Canadian rates are very high.

A later post:

Playing with math again. I just added Nova Scotia provincial taxes (they're in the higher half of provincial income tax rates) to my imaginary person (who's not too bright and doesn't deduct a thing) who's earning $37,885 and that brings their total tax load to a whopping $9384. I don't know what kind of state income taxes you guys pay so I'll leave that out. I'll say the person has a comparable health insurance plan to what our family does (it's about average for a family rate and around, I think, what a single person would have to pay if they had to do it themselves, not through an employer) do which would be $840 annually.

Total taxes and health insurance for the Canuck - $10,224

For the American earning the same amount (and who doesn't deduct anything) plus XXXX's coverage (it was sort of in the middle of our sample - $544/month) - $11, 801

I don't really have any further comment. Just thought the figures were revealing and others involved in the health care debate might be interested.


Crimson Wife said...

As someone who spent 5 years subjected to the military healthcare system, I wouldn't wish socialized medicine on *ANYONE*. Sure, it was nice not to have a premium, co-pay, cost share, or deductible. However, the quality of service was *TERRIBLE*.

At best, the providers were inexperienced; at worst, they were totally incompetent. There was no choice of doctor- I had to see whomever the Army assigned unless I wanted to pay 100% of the costs out of pocket to see a civilian doctor. Even HMO's typically let the patient go out of network for a 50% cost share after the deductible. Long wait times were the norm, and many procedures considered routine among civilian doctors such as a 2nd trimester ultrasound were not provided.

Our healthcare system may have its share of problems, but socialized medicine is *NOT* the solution!

Dawn said...

From what I've heard the US military healthcare system is not representative of universal healthcare as I know it at all. The inexperience and lack of choice for instance don't reflect what we have in Canada in any way.
There are many models of universal healthcare.

Dawn said...

That last comment was pretty short (kid emergency!) and I wanted to say something about the term 'socialized medicine' because it's not accurate. From

"1. Canada's health care system is "socialized medicine."
False. In socialized medical systems, the doctors work directly for the state. In Canada (and many other countries with universal care), doctors run their own private practices, just like they do in the US. The only difference is that every doctor deals with one insurer, instead of 150. And that insurer is the provincial government, which is accountable to the legislature and the voters if the quality of coverage is allowed to slide."

Susan said...

I'm paying attention, Dawn. The figures are very interesting.

Now I know you Canucks don't have daytime curfew (thank God), but do you have the pharmaceuticals and other very, very interested parties in your legislators' pockets like we do?

I'm wondering if your water has the same problems as a lot of our water. We have lots of drugs in ours. Anti-depressants, hormones, other goodies like that.
Our government is monitoring it carefully, gauging it and assuring that it's really not a problem. You see what I mean?

I hope your government/insurer is accountable. I'm not into trashing the US, but am not assured that our government is particularly accountable to the legislature or the voters right now. (See Judy Aron's blog about their CT. bill for not so unusual occurrences with our reps.)

We're in a stinking fine mess here,and there's nothing that is making it look better with any of our prez candidates.

audrey said...

Great work on the math, Dawn. I'd kind of done something like that when I moved here around 10 years ago. I'm probably one of the few Canadians who is actually pleased to send in her tax cheque every year. It's still WAY less than I ever paid for health insurance for myself in the States. And, I get a heck of a lot more for that money than just simply health care, too (and the health care I get is mighty excellent, to boot!)

Anonymous said...

I feel about gov't funded/controlled healthcare the way I feel about gov't funded/controlled education. It sucks.

Health care is a personal responsibility, IMHO. It is my responsibility to educate my children, it is my responsibility to provide food and shelter, and it is my responsibility to provide health care for my family.

I have family in Canada, and they are not enamored of their health care system. Getting procedures approved is a nightmare, wait times are ridiculous, and quality is severely lacking.

Since when has a gov't program ever been as effective as the free market in providing consumers with what they need and want? We are over-taxed and under-served in every area the gov't touches, regardless of their supposed accountability, and IMO health care will be no different than the public school system in terms of quality and outcomes.

I have seen the fraud and waste in our current Medicare/Medicaid system. I can't imagine that universal health care won't experience the same abuses.

Christina said...

Way to go Dawn! As someone who has had first hand experience with both systems. Even with wait times our system is better. I have so much I could write but its your blog and not mine, maybe sometime I'll get up the nerve to rant on my own, I just hate nasty comments and I don't really think people can be convinced by simply reading about our experiences they need to see it first hand.


Susan said...

ummm...I wasn't trying to be nasty, just for the record.

I've been interested in how this has worked in Canada for some time and appreciate Dawn sharing her experiences.

I've also seen how little ones, in the Medicaid/Family Services system here in Illinois, are drugged (to keep them sleeping or sedated). They have no choice in being subjected to mental health screens and the usual results are drugs. In the US, if there are governmental funds involved, there are strings attached.

If that's not what is happening in Canada, I'm glad, and therefore my curiosity.