Friday, December 22, 2006

Mixed healthcare system

The leader of the Action Démocratique du Québec Mario Dumont advocated the adoption of a mixed public and private healthcare system in Quebec. Some ideas of Mario Dumont might not necessarily please to everybody, but when it comes to talking about a “double-speed healthcare system”, he certainly gets it right. In general, Canada has nothing to lose by replacing its Medicare law by a mixed public and private healthcare system.

No effect on public finances

Such a reform wouldn’t make the governmental funding for the development of the public system wane. The development of private clinics or hospitals is often a matter of entrepreneurship. In fact, when the Supreme Court declared the Chaoulli judgement, a few private clinics were built in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British-Columbia without the help of any level of government. Obviously, if Canada adopted a mixed public and private healthcare system, no money of your taxes – in general – would fund the construction of more private clinics or hospitals, mind you.

Lessening congestions

To reduce the waiting lines in hospitals and clinics, our government should adopt a mixed public and private healthcare system. Canada, as one of the few countries of the Western civilization that has a great monopoly on its national healthcare system, managed to create a very equalitarian project. However, this equalitarian project also has a dark side.

For instance, one of the most perverse effects of this public monopoly of the Canadian government on the healthcare system can be seen in Quebec. As a matter of fact, did you know that in Quebec, the waiting time for a surgery went from 7.3 weeks to 17.5 weeks in twelve years? Despite the new complicated way used by Quebec’s government to calculate the waiting time, at least 35,000 patients are actually waiting to get the service they need.

Respect of economic freedom

A public healthcare system provides a service to everyone, regardless of their financial condition, via the taxpayers’ money. Unfortunately, it’s because of the monopoly of our government on the healthcare system that some people don’t receive medical help in time. With only one choice (i.e. the public healthcare system), you can expect that all people who need medical help will be converging towards the public healthcare system.

There’s definitely a problem if the Canadian government can’t see the congestion in the public healthcare system… By making a half-opening to a private healthcare system, the government Canada is practicing coercion. If some people can afford to pay for private services, the government must not prevent them to do it. After all, our government is totally in contradiction with its discourse on freedom. By dithering to adopt a mixed public and private healthcare system, our government is not respecting economic and medical freedom by imposing one choice for citizens.

Americanization of what?

Many political critics in Canada uphold that the adoption of a mixed public and private healthcare system is a process of “Americanization” of Canada’s healthcare system. Oh, really? Since the USA defines itself as a neo-liberal economy, it is easy to say that there’s only a private healthcare system. Therefore, there’s no public health sector in the USA. This is why in the USA, not every Americans can receive the medical services they need because these services are too expensive.

The adoption of a mixed public and private healthcare system is rather an idea that comes from European social-democrat countries such as France, Great Britain and the Scandinavian countries, mind you. The point here is not to copy the American healthcare system. If Canada copies European countries, it will, at the same time, preserve the notion of equal chances through the use of a public system and allow people to converge towards the private healthcare system if they feel that they’re waiting too much. All in all, by trying to impose the notion of equal chances with a public healthcare system, the government of Canada has also created inequality of chances by accidentally preventing some people to get the services that they need because of the long waiting lines.

The French bipolar system

In France, the media never talks about congestion in the French healthcare system, because there’s no such thing like this! The World Health Organization considers France’s mixed public and private healthcare system as the best one in the world. A French doctor can work in the public and private sector. Obviously, some measures were taken in order to protect the public sector. An experience in the public healthcare system is required for a job in the private sector.

While simple services can be given in the private and public sector, it’s in the latter that surgeries, researches and academic teaching (to medicine students) are made. All French citizens are also covered by both a state insurance and a private one, which is quite affordable. It is because of a co-existence of two healthcare systems in France that everybody can be treated very quickly.

Dark future for Canada

The healthcare system that Canada has is actually too expensive for the state. Furthermore, as the population gets older, our country is facing a loss of taxpayers that is inherently related in the growth of the national unemployment rate. If an adoption of a mixed public and private healthcare system is not adopted, the Canadian government, in a few years, will have to spend more money to take care of its population. Some economic reports also mention that in a few years, half of the national budget might possibly be dedicated to our public healthcare system if the government doesn’t make the public and private sector co-exist harmoniously in the domain of healthcare.

Finally, allow me to gladly wish you a merry Christmas, shared with your friends and your family, full of love and joy, and a happy New Year that will allow you to live your dreams. Moreover, let’s hope that this New Year will help you to start a new chapter brilliantly without going to a hospital or a clinic (joke)!

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