Medicare needs reform, not more $$$

The cure for Canada’s ailing health-care system is not hiding at the bottom of a pile of cash, according to a commentary by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. [December 16, 2015] Only by encouraging reform will Canada jump from its position as a health-care laggard to a model for the world.

“Money is not the issue. If spending were the key determinant, Canada would be a world leader”, write Brian Lee Crowley and Sean Speer. “Instead, Canada is an expensive under-performer”.

The provinces and territories are clamouring for a blank cheque to spend on health care, but the Federal Government shouldn’t give it to them, say Crowley and Speer. Canada already spends more than most other comparable countries, yet continually lags behind in quality of care.

Instead, the newly-elected Liberals should lead the way on the health-care file by encouraging reform.



“The recent past shows that federal leadership is best exercised by creating the right incentives for provinces, not by transferring more money or trying to dictate how the system should be run”, write the authors.

The Federal Government should loosen the restrictions on how provinces can deliver health-care services, giving them the elasticity to design, regulate and provide health care to their citizens within a universal and portable framework.

“The reality is that true federal leadership on the health care file does not mean Ottawa telling the provinces how to run the system”

This would both cost less and lead to better quality of care – just as it did with the welfare system in the mid-1990s.

Canada’s government-run health care system – Medicare -- is a monopoly that prohibits private hospital and private physician care. Medicare is a subpar performer, ranking 10th among 11 advanced countries. Canadians deserve much better! Patients deserve timely access to quality care and choice of hospitals and physicians. Taxpayers deserve much more value for their tax dollars.

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