Good overview piece on Canadian healthcare debates by André Picard, provoked by debates during the Alberta election. Quote:
Patients care not a whit who delivers their care; they care about quality, accessibility and affordability. So too should governments.
We need to stop vilifying everyone – and politicians in particular – who states the obvious: that private care has a place in our health system. At the same time, we need to dispense with the tiresome stereotypes, good and bad, about private delivery of care.
Private providers do not magically deliver better care faster, nor do public providers operate in a hopelessly bureaucratic fashion. Private care is not always more expensive and more dangerous. Nor is not-for-profit care necessarily more efficient and humane.
Specialization, monitoring and accountability improve care. Standards are what matter….
… The real issue is how to ensure the public-private mix that gives the best bang for the buck and enhances the underlying principle of medicare: equity.
One concern with the Wildrose approach is that well-heeled Albertans would jump the queue. This is a marginal concern. The wealthy already hop on planes and go to private clinics in B.C. or Montana. The purpose of medicare is to ensure all citizens get essential medical care that is of good quality and timely; it is not that everyone get identical care.