So fearful are we that change will lead to unequal care that we have become dubious of innovation. So brainwashed have we become that private delivery options will lead to "two-tiered" care that we ignore the fact that every major Western European country permits private alternatives while also ensuring no one is denied the care they need because they are unable to pay.
Like all cultish True Believers, we have become fixated on a mythical demon - American-style care - to the point that many of us now refuse even to consider the slightest modifications to our system out of dread that this imaginary bogeyman will slip in and seize us.
Never mind that American care isn't as bad as the Canadian propagandists for government care make it out to be. For instance, American governments spend as great a percentage of GDP on public health care as Canada's government and nearly 90% of American hospitals are public, not private.
Consider this one stat: since 1997, the federal government has transferred more than $100 billion extra to the provinces for health care above and beyond what was needed to cover the rise in inflation or the growth of the national population, and yet wait times for surgery and specialist care are 60% longer than they were 15 years ago.
Because we Canadians are obsessed with preserving our state-run hospital monopoly, the only changes we will permit our politicians to make are increases in health-care budgets. But as the record of the past decade-and-a-half shows, spending more tax dollars on health-care bureaucracies has only made wait-times much worse.
If throwing more money at the problem could fix things, we would have found the solution years ago.
Canadian governments have added about $7 billion extra a year to health spending every year for the past 15 years and about all we have to show for it are higher wages and salaries for health-care workers. Unionized health-sector workers are doing just fine for themselves; patients, not so much.
The obstacle is the Canada Health Act. The nearly 30-year-old legislation, passed by the Trudeau government in 1984, permits no private health-care delivery options and allows no Canadian to buy private insurance for procedures in Canada.
The Supreme Court has said this is unconstitutional, yet no Canadian politician has the courage to break the public monopoly.
Even socialist Sweden and France permit private care options and contract out the provision of public services to private companies.
But don't mention that here. Canadians may not like their slow, top-heavy, bureaucratic health system, but too many of us are so frightened all the alternatives are worse that we don't want to hear facts.
Long wait lists
It doesn't even seem to matter that an increasing number of physicians are voicing concerns that wait times are now medically dangerous.
According to a Fraser Institute study released last week, nearly one million Canadians are currently on surgical wait lists and as many as a third are waiting so long that the delays threaten their chances for full recovery.
We don't even seem bugged by the fact that the OECD - the international organization for developed nations - ranks Canada's health outcomes in the bottom third among industrialized nations. We seem prepared to accept substandard care so long as it remains "free."
Never mind that in a democracy it's simply wrong to deny citizens the choice of spending their own after-tax dollars as they wish - even if they wish to spend them on private health care. Our insistence on monopoly public care is costing us our health.