Money Doesn’t Buy Weight Loss

Budget constraints in Canada’s nationalized health care system have created waiting lists as long as seven years for bariatric surgery. Now, Quebec’s Health minister Yves Bolduc is struggling to address the problem with additional funding for obesity-related medical equipment and personnel.

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Canada has had nationalized health care since 1966, and legal residents are entitled to medical treatment without having to make any out-of-pocket payment to the providers. As a result, 99% of physician treatment — and 90% of hospital care — is paid for by government at some level in Canada.

Unfortunately, in any system of taxpayer-funded health care there’s only so much government money to go around, and Canada is no exception. As a result, doctors in Canada must dedicate their budgets to providing basic services first, making weight loss surgery increasingly difficult to get.

The problem has become especially dire in Quebec, where the typical weight loss surgery patient waits between five and seven years – YEARS – for their surgery. And many of them must deal with type 2 diabetes, cancer, and the other co-morbidities while they wait.

This is obviously not a healthy state of affairs. To help cut wait times, Quebec’s Health minister Yves Bolduc has scratched together an extra $29 million Canadian dollars for  obesity-related medical equipment and personnel. Using this money, Monsieur Bolduc hopes to cut waiting time for would-be weight loss surgery patients to less than six months.

In the United States, those who have good insurance coverage – or large amounts of spendable cash – can basically get weight loss surgery any time they want it. On the other hand, those Americans with no insurance or no cash often can’t get it at all.

Recently, voters in the United States have made it clear that they want some form of national  health care system here at home. With this in mind, it’s a good idea for all of us to keep an eye on the Canadian health care system so we’ll know what kinds of issues can crop up once our own nationalized healthcare program is in place. As always, we’ll keep you posted.

One Response

  1. Kasia

    Yes, you can get cosmetic sugerry without health insurance. Health insurance generally won’t cover cosmetic sugerry at all because it’s not a medical problem. If you’re getting cosmetic sugerry because you suffered severe burns or had a mastectomy, insurance may cover those types of situations.


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