Monday, November 8, 2010

Does Any Country Love Their Health Care System?

A columnist in Canada's Globe & Mail talks bluntly about the many ways he believes that country needs to change in order to meet its obligation of decent health care for all.

“There’s no law that says private health care is illegal. What there is instead is a whole bunch of laws that dampen the ability of private care providers to be parasitic on the public system.

The result is an oft-illogical patchwork that has left Canadians – and to a large extent policy-makers themselves – perplexed. To wit: Physician visits are covered by medicare but the drugs they prescribe are not – unless the patient is over 65; physicians cannot bill patients but they can refer them to imaging clinics and laboratories that do; private clinics can offer knee surgery but not heart surgery; a citizen cannot jump the queue for care unless they were hurt on the job and they are the responsibility of Worker’s Compensation; homecare nursing is provided by private companies but hospital nursing is not.

“There seems to be confusion about the legitimate role of the private sector in the health system,” as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says in a recent report. That’s quite an understatement.