A good discussion by André Picard on the controversy over the sale of The Shouldice Hospital, a family-run private hospital being sold to a US hospital group and the public-private debate that raises in Canada (Shouldice was ‘grandfathered’ when medicare was introduced). Good concluding comments, underlining the importance of a good regulatory regime. Quote:
… Facilities such as the Shouldice are successful not because they are for-profit, but because they specialize. The Kensington Eye Institute (a private, not-for-profit) and the Holland Centre (a satellite of the giant Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre) also provide excellent specialized care, as Dr. Dhalla points out. And they are all paid for by medicare.
The discipline of the market is not going to cure what ails Canadian health care, nor is battening the hatches to keep entrepreneurs out of the mix. …
Patients with a hernia, or in need of hip repair or cataract surgery, don’t care who owns the health-care facilities where they are treated; what matters is that they get high-quality care that is accessible and affordable….
We have to stop behaving as if, in health care, private is poison and public is magic. Good care requires qualified health professionals, specialization, standards, oversight and regulation.
The Shouldice Hospital is actually a model of how the private and public sector can work together to provide excellent patient care. It’s too bad that it’s the exception, not the rule.