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Should Canada Allow The Privatization Of Health Care?

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In these times, Canadians are concerned with many issues involving their health care. It is assumed that responsibility of providing solutions to improve health care falls to the Provincial and Federal governments In terms of the position of the Federal Parties have to improve healthcare for Canadian's; The Liberal party feels that they have the best solution that will provide Canadians with the best results. It states that people will have the protection of Medicare and will help with concerns like: injury prevention, nutrition, physical activity, mental health, etc. The Conservative Party plan is to make several policy-developments to benefit Canada's health care. They believe it will serve the security and well-being best for all Canadians. The last party involved in this issue is the NDP Party; who indicate that they are fighting hard for a better Health Care system in our economy. The NDP Party states that the income of a family should not dictate the quality of health care. Although none of these parties advocate the privatization of health care and allowing a two-tier health care system in the country, it certainly has its benefits as it will keep the best doctors and nurses in the Canada instead of them leaving the country for a higher salary elsewhere in the world thus reducing the current medical staff shortage in Canada , secondly it allows the wait times for medical procedures to be reduced since it allows people who can afford to pay out of their pocket access to private health care, and thirdly by taxing the profits of private health care providers, it can provide an extra revenue source that can be pumped into the Medicare to improve the system.

Despite the command of the Canada health act, which was supposed to assure universal, comprehensive, fair access, public administration and portability of our health care system, one of the biggest crises that the Canadian health care system faces is that Canada is losing highly skilled physicians and health care workers to other countries like the U.S.? It is possible to reverse this popular trend among health care workers. A privately funded health care system can rejuvenate health related research in Canada and virtually eliminate the exodus by doctors. Canada's health care problems are primarily the result of federal and provincial cutbacks in an effort to eliminate the deficit (Soroka). Under the streamlining, governments have provided less money to the system resulting in hospital closures, lack of hospital beds, and operating rooms, cancellation or reduction of programs and restriction on the availability of new medical technologies (Soroka). All these have resulted in limiting the service provided by physicians to their patients. Also another problem exists with respect to the medical staff in the research community. Many talented Canadian scientists have been faced with a reduction of government funding for basic and clinical research. Among the G-8 nations, Canada ranks last in per capita spending for health research. Japan, France, the U.S. and the U.K. all spend between 1.5 and 3.5 times more than Canada does (Soroka). It is clear to see that many issues must be addressed to keep our doctors north of the border, as many physicians flee our system. Data from the Canadian Institute for health information (CIHI) shows that there has been a 130 percent increase, which is more than double, the net loss of doctors that went to work abroad from 1991-1996 with most of them heading to the south of the border. The loss of each single physician represents a loss of a major Canadian investment in a highly educated, skilled practitioner who can contribute to the overall health and well being of many Canadians in their respective communities, and whose future research could have proved to serve the country as a whole. But with much higher salaries and larger funding for research out of this country, it is not the doctors' fault as the migration is not confined to only physicians, doctors represent only one quarter of health workers who made the move to the states in 1996, with nurses making up the majority (Soroka). It is seems clear that Canada's health care system needs more funding at all levels, and the only way to accomplish this goal is to open new money streams into the system to counter the impact of diminishing funding. One answer to look at is to have a privately funded health care system, which would let Canada keep doctor salaries competitive and provide additional resources to the system, including selling our services to patients all over the world. Although the privatization of health care will scares many citizens, especially the ones with little to no income, a publicly funded system with a private tier could alleviate their worries and benefit all Canadians. With the added source of revenue, the economics behind this model is simple: as the price of salaries goes up, the population of doctors and nurses in Canada rises as well. If the demand for doctors in Canada rises, which seems to be the case, and then the government must do something to increase the supply as well, in order for the market to stay in balance. The closer to balance means fewer waiting lists for medical attention and better health care overall. As well increased revenue through some form of privatization would provide more opportunity for the Canadian research community.

One of the major issues about the Canadian health care system is the wait times, whether to see a specialist, have major elective surgery, such as hip replacement, or specialized treatments, such as radiation for breast cancer. Studies by the Commonwealth Fund found that 57% of Canadians reported waiting 4 weeks or more to see a specialist; 24% of Canadians waited 4 hours or more in the emergency room. A March 2, 2004 article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal stated, "Saskatchewan is under fire for having the longest waiting time in the country for a diagnostic MRI - a whopping 22 months." A February 28, 2006 article in The New York Times quoted Dr. Brian Day as saying, "This is a country in which dogs can get a hip replacement in under a week and in which humans can wait two to three years." In a 2007 episode of ABC News 20/20, host John Stossel cited numerous examples of Canadians who had difficulty accessing health care. According to the Fraser Institute, treatment time from initial referral by a GP through consultation with a specialist to final treatment, across all specialties and all procedures (emergency, non-urgent, and elective), averaged 17.7 weeks in 2005. These wait time problem causes unnecessary hardship for Canadian's as allowing private health care run in Canada can reduce these wait times and improve the overall health care system.

Canadians have one of the highest taxation rates in North America, some people might not like that but the majorities are ok with it since many social services are paid for by the government. By having a second tier of health care in addition to the public option we could envision a secondary source of income by the form of taxing the companies that provide the private health care. Typically the taxation rate for business is 38%, when you tax the profits of these companies it is guaranteed to add additional income for the government that can be but pumped back into the public health care system.

Today's health care system in Canada needs serious attention from our government and as well as our citizens. To say that these problems will go away by themselves under our current system is ridiculous. Alternative solutions must be considered and addressed to Canadians so we don't find ourselves in serious trouble down the road. Health care will continue to be debated in parliament in the upcoming weeks and months, but one thing that is beyond debate is Canada's obligation to make our country a place where our children will want to stay and an attractive environment for investment and innovation. We must keep our best here in order stay ahead of pressing health issues and to attract talent from around the world. Exploring the option of a privately funded system along with a public funded health care ensures that we and our children can stay healthy and strong well into the future.

Annotated Bibliography: (Revised)

Armstrong, Pat, and Hugh Armstrong. About Canada: Health Care. Toronto, ON: Fernwood Books Ltd, 2008. Print.

Armstrong looks at the effect of boomer generation as they get older and how it could bankrupt Medicare; as well explain the reforms that are underway to the system. The essay will use this book to look at the state of health care for senior citizens.

"A private matter. (Good news)(Brief article)." Maclean's. 120. 15 (April 23, 2007): 7(1). Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Seneca College. 26 Jan. 2010 <http://find.galegroup.com/ovrc/infomark.do?&contentSet=IAC-Documents&type=retrieve&tabID=T003&prodId=OVRC&docId=A162695994&source=gale&srcprod=OVRC&userGroupName=king56371&version=1.0>

This Article is about The Urgent Care Centre at False Creek Surgical, one of the first private MRI clinics in Canada. The essay will have this as an example of a successful private health care service provider.

Flood, Colleen and Archibald, Tom. "The illegality of private health care in Canada." Canadian Medical Association Journal 164 .6 (2001): 1-6. Web. 26 Jan 2010. <http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/reprint/164/6/825>.

In this journal the authors address the question of whether private health care is illegal in Canada; they conclude it is illegal in 6 of the 10 provinces. The essay will look at the rest of the provinces and despite that private health care is legal no major advances in that industry have been made in the past 20 years.

Gibson, Diana, and Fuller, Colleen. The bottom line: The Truth Behind Private Health Care in Canada. Newest Publishers, 2006. Print.

The authors attempt to get to the real story behind private health insurance and offer viable solutions for strengthening Canada s public health care system from within. The essay will attempt to find faults with the writer's opinions.

Marchildon, Gregory, Elias Mossialos, Sara Allin, and European Policies. Health Care Systems in Transition: Canada. 1st. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 2006. Print.

The authors provides an objective description and analysis of the public, private, and mixed components that make up health care in Canada today, and compares it to other countries health care. The essay will look at how Canadian health care could improve if elements of other countries health care can be implemented here.

Roach, Kent, Lorne Sossin, and Colleen Flood. Access to Care, Access to Justice: The Legal Debate Over Private Health Insurance in Canada. 1st. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 2005. Print.

The authors explain how the supreme court of Canada avoided direct intervention in health care policy-making; until the Chaoulli decision that prevented the sale of health insurance in Quebec. The essay will take account of this historic decision and how it affected the rest of the country.

"Public vs. Private Health Care." CBC News In Depth: Health care. December 1, 2006. CBC News, Web. 20 Jan 2010. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/healthcare/public_vs_private.html>.

This CBC news feature explains how private health care is incorporated along public health care and the differences between them. This website is educate the public about the differences between the two types of health care and the essay is going to include some of the examples provided in this feature.

Soroka, Stuart. "Canadian perceptions of the health care system [electronic resource]: a report to the Health Council of Canada." 10 12 2007. Health Council of Canada, Web. 26 Jan 2010. <http://dsp-psd.pwgsc.gc.ca/collection_2007/hcc-ccs/H174-11-2007E.pdf>.

Mr. Soroka presents a report on the public opinion polling data from (2002-2006) on the Canadian health care system, as well the report examines Canadian's views on the role of health care council of Canada and how It attempt to implement any recommendation. The essay will use this article to examine the state of Canadian healthcare and how the people view it.


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