Canada can compete successfully for improved care
Latest AIMS’ papers demonstrate the harm done by avoiding business principles in health administration

[HALIFAX] —   Canada competes globally for the services of health professionals, and we are losing – say two papers released today by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS). These two reports form part of the research that informed the Institute’s major contribution to the country’s debate over the future of medicare, the Definitely NOT the Romanow Report, which received front-page coverage in the national media on its release last week.

“The wage differentials between Canadian and American health professionals create a powerful incentive for Canadian medical personnel to immigrate to the US,” says Brett Skinner, author of Medicare, the Medical Brain Drain and Human Resource Shortages in Health Care, one of two background papers released today,. ”The continuing loss of our doctors and nurses is contributing to a labour shortage in our health care system and reductions in public access to health services that may be negatively affecting health outcomes.”

The Medical Brain Drain demonstrates how the limitations of public spending are making it obvious that a centrally planned medical system is unable to provide the same opportunities and rewards for doctors and nurses as a more market-oriented system. As Canadian medical professionals begin to realize the degree to which the public health care monopoly exploits their services and suppresses their earnings, the more likely it is that they will leave this country for the US.

A much greater role for the private sector in health care delivery is becoming imperative in order to ensure that the medical system will have adequate supplies of highly skilled professionals to provide for the health and well being of Canadians. Only the private sector can provide the new financial and capital resources necessary to compete for human resources in health care, and the injections of cash proposed by Roy Romanow to the public system do nothing to change this reality.

Canadians want a health care system that provides high-quality medical services and is financially sustainable at an acceptable economic price, without limiting access to medically necessary services. In their typically pragmatic way, Canadians are not worried about whether it is the private sector or the public sector that achieves this goal; they just want results. The Benefits of Allowing Business Back Into Canadian Health Care , the second background paper, again authored by Brett Skinner, supports them in this pragmatism.

A review of the direction of health policy reforms in the rest of the world indicates that Canadians are not alone in preferring balanced approaches to health policy reform. The consensus that is emerging internationally is primarily concerned with the following: ensuring universal access to a defined package of medically necessary services; maximizing consumer choice; controlling cost pressures on public budgets; and satisfying consumer demands for timely access to high-quality health care services.

There is a wide scope for competition and private sector involvement in the arrangement and provision of health care under this emerging set of public values. Health policy research identifies a number of benefits that would result from private, for-profit provision of medically necessary services and health insurance. These advantages include reduced waiting times and queuing for services, increased consumer choice, rationalized demand for medical services, reduced cost pressures on government budgets, better overall quality of medical care, and the elimination of the conflict of interest which occurs when governments regulate services that they themselves provide.


For further information, contact:
Brian Lee Crowley, President, AIMS, 902-499-1998
Brett Skinner, 519-978-9936