Charles Lewis wrote in “Health care as ‘religion’ must end: CMA chief”, (National Post, Nov.4, 2008):
“Canadians must stop thinking of public health care as a "religion" and open their minds to options to improve the system, the head of the Canadian Medical Association said yesterday.
"We need a transformation of the health care system," Robert Ouellet, president of the association that represents the country's doctors, told the National Post's editorial board yesterday. "I'm not very proud of how it's working now in Canada. We have good quality care in our system but it's the access, the wait times [that are the problem]."
But an irrational fear on the part of most Canadians of private sector medicine is part of the reason the system here has not improved, he said.
"[Our system] has become some kind of religion," he said. "The word 'private' is taboo in Canada. I've been talking to people around the world and they don't get why it's such a big deal to talk about private care. In France, 60% of surgeries are done in private clinics but paid by the government. The point is to do what is important for the patient. [In Canada] we are thinking about the system, we're not thinking about the patient."
He said Canadian always assume that mixing in private care with public care would somehow lead to an American-style system -- which would mean "if you don't have money you don't get health care."
He agreed that the United States is not the place to look. He cited a recent study in which Canada ranked 30 out of 30 industrial nations in concrete results for dollars spent on health care. The United States was not included in the study, he said, but if it was it would have ranked below Canada.
He said that is why it is important to look to those countries, particularly in western Europe, that are doing better than us, not worse.
Dr. Ouellet, a radiologist, has first-hand experience with how the private sector can assist in helping out with wait times. Twenty years ago, he and a group of physicians at a hospital in Laval, Que., purchased a CT scanner for $1.2-million and opened the first private clinic in Canada with the blessing of hospital administrators. The hospital, which served a population of 300,000, did not have access to a scanner and there was no hope they could get one in the near future.
Eventually five hospitals referred patients to his clinic and 10 years ago they added a magnetic resonance imaging machine.
He said the most important thing is to keep the Canadian system universal "but if you don't have money you won't have care."
Along with adding some level of private care, he would like to see the Canadian hospital system begin to mimic initiatives that have taken place in the United Kingdom.
Like Canada, he said the United Kingdom suffered from the same wait list problems as Canada, as well as having similar problems in their emergency rooms.
One element they used to solve the problem was changing the way hospital budgets were allocated. Instead of global budgets, funds were tied to patient care. "The patient became a source of revenue for the hospital rather than an expense."
He said an added benefit of a fee-for-care system is that it would add and element of competition between hospitals that would benefit patients.
"It would be an incentive for hospitals to become more productive. Maybe you could add some competition from the private sector, too, which is what they have done in the U. K."
He said the result in the United Kingdom has been drastically reduced wait times, along with a requirement that no emergency room patient wait more than four hours before getting care.
He stressed that any change in fees would have to be accompanied by other reforms in the overall health care system.”
What does health-care choice-denier and monopolist Jim Bradley, (MPP from St. Catharines and Ontario’s current Transportation Minister) have to say on Dr. Ouellet’s comments?
Bradley’s religion is Statism, isn’t it?
Forcing his failing Liberal single-payer, state-run, supposedly-‘universal’ health monopoly onto Ontarians and denying payer/provider choice to patients are Bradley’s commandments.
Competition is an evil that Bradley abhors. Look at the Liberal's failing NHS health system right in Niagara for an example of how a majority Liberal government can run a system into the ground.
For Jim Bradley and his Liberals, it is not irrational (in their minds) to believe that they must act as intervenors in every aspect of our lives; that only Jimmy’s blessed wisdom can guide us and decide what is best for us. Whether banning cell-phones or banning patient health-care choice, Bradley glows in the Shining Light that is smug Liberal elitism.
Bradley is not part of any solution to Ontario’s health-care problems - Bradley’s thirty years of peddling a socialized medicare monopoly led us here.
You can be sure that a smug Bradley won't be bothered to even respond to Ouellet.