Newest AIMS papers look at how to decide what services should be covered by universal public health insurance

AIMS continues to challenge assumptions underlying national debate

[HALIFAX] —  The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS), today released the next two papers in its Health Care Reform Background Series. These two papers attempt to broaden the public debate not by introducing new concepts of funding or delivery but by encouraging a full debate on the breadth of services covered – urging Canadians to make conscious and rational choices about what services should fall within the public funding umbrella.

“Canada needs an improved, unified funding model for non-insured health and social services,” says author Betty Newson, a policy analyst from PEI, “ We need to consider a set of guiding principles for this funding model that is consistent with the Canadian value of access but that improves financial equity, maximizes individual choice, promotes and rewards saving, and protects people from high costs and tax rates.”

Principles to Guide a Unified Funding Model For Non-Medicare (Non-insured) Health and Social Services argues that Canada’s sustained health care debate has tended to focus primarily on insured Medicare—hospital and medical services. While there is an increasing interest in non-insured health and social services, such as continuing/long-term care, drugs, home care, and social supports, analysis has often overlooked the fragmented funding arrangements in these sectors, in particular the financial impact for some people.

How Should We Decide What to Cover Under Medicare?  takes up this challenge by looking at the Oregon approach to health care coverage decision-making, and demonstrates how an improved version of the Oregon model would result in a truer reflection of the collective values of society’s members in deciding what medical services should have first claim on the scarce public health care dollars available. Says author and health economist Julia Witt, “We need to generate a healthy and constructive public debate about what our priorities are in health care, removing decisions about listing and delisting from the bureaucratic and unaccountable process where they are now taken.”

The fact that Canadians need to take a serious look at what services they wish to see included in the universal public health insurance plan and which services are those that individuals should arrange payment for themselves, either directly or through private insurance, is yet another theme to be included in AIMS’ upcoming presentation its Alternative Royal Commission on Health Care Report at the Ontario Hospital Association’s Annual Conference in Toronto on November 19, 2002.

According to AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley, “The national debate on health reform can not afford to ignore alternatives that can make a difference to the long-term sustainability of the health services Canadians cherish. The national debate around the Kirby and Romanow reports is becoming very narrowly focused on expanding services and raising taxes – we hope this series, and the alternative perspectives it is laying out, will change that.”


For further information, contact:
Brian Lee Crowley, President, AIMS, 902-499-1998
Betty Newson, 902-621-0444