A typical Canadian family of four will pay $12,935 for health care in 2018, finds a new study released by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“Health care in Canada isn’t free. Canadians pay a substantial amount for public health care through their taxes, even if they don’t pay directly for medical services,” said Bacchus Barua, associate director of health policy studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of The Price of Public Health Care Insurance, 2018.

Most Canadians are unaware of the true cost of health care because they never see a bill for medical services and may only pay a small public health insurance “premium” tax (in provinces that impose them).

Because general government revenue, not a dedicated tax, funds health care, it’s difficult for Canadians to decipher how many of their tax dollars go to our public health-care system. 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. After adjusting for inflation, that’s an increase of 68.5 per cent since 1997, the first year estimates could be calculated.