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gas prices and universal health care
Old 05-01-2008, 11:52 PM   #1
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gas prices and universal health care

I'm watching the news. Average cost of gas in U.S. today is 96 cents per liter. In Canada it's $1.27.

I thought that this might serve as a good factual example/warning to those in the U.S. who believe that UHC can or will happen without much sacrifice.
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Old 05-01-2008, 11:53 PM   #2
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How so? Does the gas tax in Canada support UHC?
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Old 05-02-2008, 02:49 AM   #3
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ALL taxes in Canada support (among other things) universal health care.
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Old 05-02-2008, 04:27 AM   #4
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Let me get this straight - 30c more per liter of gas and I get heath care? Where do I sign?
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Old 05-02-2008, 06:03 AM   #5
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My Canadian counterpart (we both have the same job and equivalent pay) has shared his tax burden with me, and it's shockingly high. As much as we complain, as far as I can tell our taxes are not high for a developed country (not that I want to pay more).

However, if you research UHC, it seems that all the developed countries with UHC are getting much more bang for the buck than the US. A lot of the 'long wait' and 'no choice' info may be propogated by opponents of UHC. Watch this (it's an hour but it's free and well done IMHO): FRONTLINE:sick around the world | PBS
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Old 05-02-2008, 09:52 AM   #6
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Gas prices are but the tip of the iceberg. Cigarettes and booze are also much more expensive. Did I mention the 5% federal gov't goods and services tax? It adds to the provincial sales taxes for a total of upward of 13% tax on pretty much everything but food.

Income taxes look like this....I pay 25% of my income up to 37K, then 32% up to 76K, 36% up to 123K and 39% on anything above that. This is in the lowest taxed province. Lucky folks in Ontario get to pay 46%.

Oh ya, we can't deduct the interest on our mortgages either.

Canada's health care system is one to study when considering universal health care, but I haven't heard much from the American presidential hopefuls on ways to pay for it.

As a Canadian why do I care at all?? Well, what's good for the U.S. economically is good for me. I'm not sure that the citizens of the U.S. have the stomach for these kind of taxation rates, and I doubt that the candidates would have the guts to put them in place. My hunch is that the U.S. deficit will just get bigger faster to fulfill the UHC promise that pays for someone to get into office, and long term economically that won't help any of us.
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Old 05-02-2008, 10:00 AM   #7
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So Grizz, all of these taxes go only toward health care?
Do you pay a different percentage on dividends or savings interest?
You mentioned the province taxes, are there additional taxes at the national level?
If not, sign me up, you have quite a deal there and health care to boot
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Old 05-02-2008, 10:01 AM   #8
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Mexico gas is 90 cents a litre and they also have UHC. For an individual, the monthly fee is half what it is in BC.
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Old 05-02-2008, 12:38 PM   #9
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So Grizz, all of these taxes go only toward health care?
Do you pay a different percentage on dividends or savings interest?
You mentioned the province taxes, are there additional taxes at the national level?
If not, sign me up, you have quite a deal there and health care to boot
The taxes are combined federal and provincial and I suppose to someone who is in the lower tax brackets it probably looks like a decent deal.

Savings interest is taxed as income.

Stock gains are taxed at capital gains rates which is about 1/2 of your highest tax bracket so 19% in my case

25% of dividends (in Canadian corps only I think) are added to your income, then you are taxed on 2/3 of that. If you have no income other than dividends, then you can receive $22000 in dividends every year tax free. Probably lots of income splitting with family going on with that incentive.

Up until now we haven't had anything like ROTH IRA's. I believe next year we'll be starting our version with a $5K max contribution per yr. though.

Overall, Canada is much more of a socialist country than the U.S. so guys like me who earn more than average get hit with crazy high tax rates while the lower-mid income folks pay about the same as U.S. citizens. This is one of the reasons that we lose a ton of health care professionals to the U.S.

In paying for UHC I don't think the U.S. would go the socialist route as they tend to be more of a capitalist bunch. I hope that a nice sustainable balance can be found but my bet is that everyone would pay a bit more and because politicians tend to enjoy popularity the national deficit would just climb that much faster to cover the rest.
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Old 05-02-2008, 12:52 PM   #10
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Overall, Canada is much more of a socialist country than the U.S. so guys like me who earn more than average get hit with crazy high tax rates while the lower-mid income folks pay about the same as U.S. citizens. This is one of the reasons that we lose a ton of health care professionals to the U.S.

In paying for UHC I don't think the U.S. would go the socialist route as they tend to be more of a capitalist bunch. I hope that a nice sustainable balance can be found but my bet is that everyone would pay a bit more and because politicians tend to enjoy popularity the national deficit would just climb that much faster to cover the rest.
Geez Grizz - I did not know it was so bad in Canada. No wonder you guys call your dollar the Loonie.

Your description of Canadian circumstances is eye opening. We in the US are hearing the drumbeat of socialism growing louder by the day. I for one hope we stay a capitalist bunch but, it appears we are going to give it a test in Nov.

How many of us ERs would there be on this board if 46% of our income went to taxes?
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Old 05-02-2008, 01:14 PM   #11
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How many of us ERs would there be on this board if 46% of our income went to taxes?
Aren't folks here paying almost that much in the upper brackets? 35% fed plus, say 8-9% state in a number of states? 43-44%? Plus another 1.45% in medicare? That's right at 46%.

Assuming the rates Grizz quoted are for an individual (not married), they are very comparable to the brackets and rates that folks in the US pay in states w/ income tax. In fact, high bracket taxpayers in a state like California will be paying over 50% marginal taxes on earned income when the top federal bracket reverts back to 39% in a couple years. Maybe rich californians should consider relocating to capitalist Canada for the great tax breaks?
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Old 05-02-2008, 01:20 PM   #12
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Aren't folks here paying almost that much in the upper brackets? 35% fed plus, say 8-9% state in a number of states? 43-44%? Plus another 1.45% in medicare? That's right at 46%.

Assuming the rates Grizz quoted are for an individual (not married), they are very comparable to the brackets and rates that folks in the US pay in states w/ income tax. In fact, high bracket taxpayers in a state like California will be paying over 50% marginal taxes on earned income when the top federal bracket reverts back to 39% in a couple years. Maybe rich californians should consider relocating to capitalist Canada for the great tax breaks?
Yup, and I'm not even in the highest bracket. 28% fed, 9% state, 6% Social Security, 1.5% medicare, plus 8% sales tax. Of course those are marginal rates.

Canada here I come!
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Old 05-02-2008, 02:02 PM   #13
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While that is a high amount, when you combine state and federal taxes some people in the US are paying the same without the medical.
Yes, you pay a lot, but no, you are not the only one
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Old 05-02-2008, 02:07 PM   #14
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46% is the top rate, not the rate paid on every penny (just to precise). A similar person living in NY would be paying US top rate (33%) plus the state income tax (6.85%) plus another 3-4% to the city. So that's in the mid-forties, also. But your effective overall taxation might be 25-30%. (oops Fuego, zathras and figner beat me to it.. and I even forgot to include Medicare/Medicaid that workers pay separately)..

What are other Canada taxes like (sales tax)? Is is sales tax national or provincial?

There's no such thing as a free lunch, and we can pay for health care via taxes or not. All I know is that it is more expensive overall (there's more waste and overhead) in the private system which doesn't cover lots of people. And lots (even on this board) find access more difficult than paying the premiums, sometimes.

My situation increasingly makes me a "health care refugee", since I certainly can't envision paying 1/3 my ER income in private health premiums. But I'd consider moving back to the US if I could pay even 1/2 that in higher taxes while not being worried about being denied access.

As more and more companies make individuals shoulder the burden, there will be even more clamor for a "universal" solution in the US. Most people don't have insurance on the open market so they just don't see the real prices yet, personally.

The macro issue is that SOMEone is paying the aggregate bill -- 2x as much as any other country to insure not even 80% of the population? -- you just may not see it as being "you" right at this moment.
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Old 05-02-2008, 02:14 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Grizz View Post
I'm watching the news. Average cost of gas in U.S. today is 96 cents per liter. In Canada it's $1.27.

I thought that this might serve as a good factual example/warning to those in the U.S. who believe that UHC can or will happen without much sacrifice.
Wow, quite a leap of reasoning.
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Old 05-02-2008, 02:24 PM   #16
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One of the problems with US health care is that most of the people have no idea that the costs are so high for meds and procedures. They never see the costs and definetly do not have to open their wallets to pay.

What other provider of a good or service can you think of where all you have to do is show a card, and maybe a small co-pay, and they run tests, offer remedies, give you drugs and you never get quoted a price and never even see a bill?

Like corporate taxation, if the Govt runs UHC the costs are hidden and they get out of hand. Let each of us pay for our services, hopefully with tax credits from Govt for doing so, and we all will find ways to keep the costs down. In addition, then at least we can get the kind of care we desire, not what Govt desires.
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Old 05-02-2008, 03:10 PM   #17
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What are other Canada taxes like (sales tax)? Is is sales tax national or provincial?
Both have their own. 5% federal plus another 0%-10% depending on your province are added to goods and services.
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Old 05-02-2008, 03:21 PM   #18
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Wow, quite a leap of reasoning.
As I've mentioned, gas is just one area where we pay more taxes. Apart from health care funding, our gov't funds and builds things to a similar standard as the U.S. and as such we pay proportionally similar rates for roads, schools etc. I'm not sure why it's that big a leap to think that a big piece of that extra $1.17 per gallon goes toward health.
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Old 05-02-2008, 03:46 PM   #19
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Just an FYI that I've lived in the States. I can honestly tell you that my husband's net income was the same in the States as it is here in Canada.

So how exactly are we paying higher taxes in Canada again?
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Old 05-02-2008, 03:49 PM   #20
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It just seems odd that the only thing Canada provides its population differently than the US would be Health care.
I can't say I have anything saying it isn't, I just would like to clarify that.
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