Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Doctors' Diagnosis: Real Cost Driver in Health Costs Is the Private Sector

Between now and 2014, the Canadian federal government, the provinces and territories will negotiate a new arrangement for financing health insurance. The battle lines are already being drawn, and the prophets of disinformation are pushing hard at the line: we can't afford our system, we need to privatize. Their aim is to rewrite the Canada Health Act which is supposed to guarantee our system of universal access to medically needed health care.

But perhaps the fight will be a real one. In the last two weeks two groups of doctors have racheted up their campaigns in favour of a public, single payer system. The first was Médecins québécois pour le regime public, which presented a fine program at their annual general meeting in mid-February. The second is Canadian Doctors for Medicare, whose excellent report "Neat, Plausible and Wrong: The Myth of Health Care Unsustainability" of is now available on line.

It's worth reading in its entirety, but suffice to say here it details changes in health care expenses in Canada and sums up: "If Medicare costs are stable, and public sector costs are rising slowly, why are total health care costs increasing rapidly? The real cost driver is precisely the thing that critics of Medicare tout as the solution: private health care."

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