Friday, July 29, 2005

Health Care : We're Not Getting Our Money's Worth ...

... at least not according to the Fraser Institute. They released their newest study on health care yesterday. (The press release can be found here, and the full report is here -- you'll need a PDF reader like Adobe to read it.)

Now, Ujjal Dosanjh may wish to dismiss the report as being from a right-wing think tank, but the fact is this is going to be potent ammunition for the Tories when Parliament resumes in September. (I predict at least two dozen private members' statements citing this study.)

Quoting from the press release:

The study compares Canada to other OECD countries that guarantee access to health care regardless of ability to pay. Twelve indicators of access to health care and outcomes from the health care process are examined including access to physicians, access to high-tech medical equipment, and key health outcomes.

Many of the countries examined produce superior outcomes in health care and at a lower cost than Canada. Other industrialized countries with universal access programs, such as Sweden, Japan, and Australia, allow user fees, some form of private insurance, and private hospitals that compete for patient demand. These three countries consistently outperform Canada on health outcomes but spend less.

In other words, getting the private sector involved will lower the overall cost of universal care. The proof is in the examples of other countries with government-sponsored care, that allow some form of private participation (user fees, private insurance, etc.).

There are of course, other problems mentioned. Currently we have a doctor shortage compared with other nations. And the doctors we do have don't have as much access to new medical technologies as do those in other countries. The Fraser study doesn't explicitly blame the bureaucratic nature of our current healthcare system -- but then again, it doesn't have to.

People who want healthcare to be on the public agenda should download this report. Then, watch out for the fireworks in September.