National Health Care

01 Feb, 2009

Now that Obama is president and the States should be experiencing health car reform any day now, I think this old post has some new value.

Welcome to the new weblog. I know before writing this entry that this could be controversial depending on my wording, so I will try and be as delicate as possible. Not a bad way to start for a new weblog, eh?

Privatize healthcare. Please! I can already feel the backlash. I don’t mean “Americanize” our health care system. I don’t believe in Insurance companies making a fortune for a service they barely offer. I am a firm believer that health care should be provided by the government and that it is a fundamental right. It is owed to the people. But I am sure I will hear no arguments when I say that our current health care system is not perfect. (The World Health Organization placed Canada’s health care system 30th overall (the United States placed 37th)).

I think the solution is privatization of health care. Introduce competition to improve quality and wait times. Have health care companies that compete for your patronage. The more successful treatments a hospital (or company) provides, the more they earn. Then hospitals would be concerned with efficiency and quality. Then patients would be empowered. If someone is not happy with the way a hostpital is treating them, they can simply go to the next one. In this manner, the patient becomes viewed as a source of revenue for the hospital rather than a cost. Essentially what would end up happening, according to Brett Skinner, director of health and pharmaceutical policy research at the Fraser Institute, is that the government will say, “We’ll fund it, but we want the best service at the lowest price.”

In France, Switzerland, and Germany, such a system already exists. And for anyone who has seen Michael Moore’s documentary-esque movie Sicko, you can see the French’s system is working well. There is a company there called SOS Médecins which does personal house-calls. You can call them 24 hours and one of their 1000+ doctors will come to your house, diagnose you, treat you if possible and leave withing 30 minutes. The associated cost is about $80 which is mostly paid for by the government (the rest covered by insurance if you have it). A doctor at your house!

That does not sound terrible to me. Certainly would beat the half hour drive from my house to the nearest hospital and then six hour wait in the waiting room.

As of right now Canada is one of only a handful of counties under the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that is so strict on having a monopoly on health care. Unfortunately I do not think that will change any time soon. This kind of change would be a little too progressive for our current administration (or any minority goverment for that matter).

But that doesn’t mean we can squirm about it.

About the author


I am an ex-pat Newfoundlander who has uprooted and moved to the big city of Toronto. I develop web applications for work and for fun. I play ultimate and ice hockey year-round and camp every chance my girlfriend will let me.

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