NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 28, 2008

Another day, another survey ranks Canada's health system -- particularly patient choice -- dismally below those in a broad sample of democratic countries, says the Sudbury Star.

According to the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and Stockholm's Health Consumer Powerhouse:

  • Structurally, Canada's health systems are not designed to permit real choice to the consumer.
  • The Canada Health Act and most provincial health laws forbid private payments for publicly insured services.
  • Further, provincial health departments use financial models that favor inefficiency:
  • Manitoba, for example, still clings to the outdated model of funding hospitals with global budgets, which sees funding at last year's level with inflationary increases.
  • This means that an MRI runs according to a hospital schedule, not patient demand.
  • The number of operations performed reflects a budget, as opposed to need.

The survey's sponsors believe in the power of the dollar, private competition and its ability to transform inefficient, monopolistic health systems.  Canadian politicians blanch at the very idea of allowing private players into the mix.  That's why Canada's attempts at reforms basically amount to spending a lot of money to cut wait times using the same inefficient, public model.  Billions of dollars later, European countries continue to outrank Canada in provision of good health care.

Source: "Canada clings to outdated health model," Sudbury Star, January 28, 2008.

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