Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Canada's Health Care System in Financial Crisis

Just as the U.S. has started moving toward a Canada-esque health care system, the Canadian
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has announced that Canada's health-care system is in a financial crisis, and needs significant -- if controversial -- reform to survive.

Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/OECD+prescription/3520108/story.html#ixzz0zWSwSbwk
Some bits from the report:
"Canada should end its status as the only OECD country -- other than the United Kingdom -- that mandates solely government funding of medical care, and allow co-payments and deductibles. Having to pay a modest fee to visit a doctor would limit government spending, likely reduce demand on the system and possibly encourage healthier lifestyles."

"The report notes that, with governments funding the entire cost of medical service and user charges outlawed, cost pressures and rising demand have forced healthcare rationing: long queues for some services and a shortage of physicians. "

Contracts for health services, especially hospital services, should be opened up to both private and public facilities. As with any government contracting process, this could "stimulate public-sector accountability."

People should be allowed to buy private health insurance and opt out of the public system for some basic medical services "at the margins" of the system, spurring on private health providers and generating competition to the public sector. To make the idea work well, doctors should be able to serve both publicly and privately funded patients."

Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/OECD+prescription/3520108/story.html#ixzz0zWTwfV37


Primal said...

As a consumer of the Canadian system, I can definitely attest to the fact that it needs some serious improvements.

Daniel said...

Im not sure if my last message was deleted. Im having internet problems. But this is an issue I can really really relate to. I moved to Canada (Newfoundland) from New Zealand. I needed to get a family doctor but kept getting turned down because they were already full. After weeks of searching I finally found someone but they were a long way away, and because I don't have a car this costs me about 50$ everytime I go. This would never happen in NZ where we pay a nominal fee but get the service we need immediately and without the fuss. So I think things here really need to change.

Jeff_in_Montreal said...

As a consumer of the Canadian system, I have to say that it is fantastic. I know too many uninsured or poorly insured Americans. I've had several friends with serious health problems (brain cancer, spine injuries, etc.) get immediate and wonderful care at no cost. We have some problems, but I wouldn't switch to the U.S. system for the world. And you are certainly overpaying health insurers: in terms of $ spent per capita on health, America spends more than any other OECD country, (private and public spending included), despite poorer outcomes and indicators.
As for the financial crisis, it is right wing spin. the major reason health care has increased as a percentage of our budgets is because tax cuts have made it's relative importance increase - i.e. its an illusion.
The OECD, by the way, is a major international policy institution, not a Canadian institution.
Great blog,

George said...

I gotta agree with Jeff. There are some issues with wait times(for non serious cases)but if you need medical attention you get it.At least that is my experience. I have waited to see the clinic and emergency room doctors in the past but I think a(possible) cardiac case or sick child trumps my need for a couple stitches.(wink)

I do like the idea of a small visitation fee up front though...much of the wait does seem to involve folks visiting the doctor for trivial reasons.

No system is perfect though the French seem to have the best of the best.


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