"According to one observer, Michael Moore has created a love letter to the Canadian system. However, Americans should know that Canada rations health care and that many Canadians wait inordinately long periods of time for urgent medical treatment. The Fraser Institute's annual report 'Waiting Your Turn' estimates that Canadians are waiting for nearly 800,000 medical procedures. If the Canadian system was adopted in the U.S. - and you assume one person per treatment - that would translate to nearly 7.3 million Americans. Not 7.3 million Americans theoretically without health care due to a lack of insurance - but 7.3 million Americans who need medical treatment but cannot get it without being on long waiting lists.
"How long? In Canada, it depends on the province and the type of treatment. The median wait time for medical treatment in Canada in 2006 was 17.8 weeks. However, this doesn't tell the whole story. It's not hard to find Canadians who have waited months to get an MRI, and years for some types of treatments. There are multiple kinds of waits in the Canadian system: the wait to see a specialist, the wait to get a diagnostic test, the wait to get surgery - and then the wait for rescheduled surgery after one's initial surgical appointment has been cancelled - sometimes multiple times - a routine phenomenon. Waits for orthopedic surgery can be multiple years - and in the case of some elderly Canadians - forever. Waits for things like gastric bypass and sleep apnea treatment are routinely 4-5 years."