Do Canadians value form over function? In suggesting that governments should be considering expanded opportunities for private delivery of health care in
In Form over Function, the latest commentary from the Canadian Health Care Consensus Group, author Brian Ferguson Ph.D. explores the debate about Medicare in
“Unfortunately, Medicare has become such a shibboleth that no government has dared speak in other than platitudes and vague generalities for years now. The result has been a
“The most inflexible adherents to our current system do occasionally receive criticism for putting ideology ahead of the suffering of patients waiting for surgery, for example, but, that sort of criticism has a short half life in Canadian policy debate. On the other hand, accusations of willingness to destroy Medicare can be recycled on a moment’s notice.”
The paper also describes the carelessness with which many terms are thrown around in the debate: the term “private insurance” is incessantly misused as a synonym for the United States system; a core concept in Canadian Medicare – “all medically necessary services” – lacks a definition for the term “necessary”; and “private investment” is portrayed as taking away from the public system rather than being recognized as an injection of additional resources into the public health care system.
Most important, says
“It’s time to stop letting the defenders of a 1960s health care system control the policy debate. It’s time to recognize what other countries with publicly funded health care systems have already recognized, that the form of the system has to change if its function is to be preserved. Health technology has changed since the birth of the national Medicare plan. The way we organize the delivery of medical care has to be able to change, and cannot be blocked by people who would put ideology ahead of a well-functioning health care system.”
Click here to read the complete paper.
This research was made possible through the generous support of the Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation.