Privatization Can Improve Public Healthcare

Why does the health care system of so
many European countries consistently rate higher than British Columbia’s? Is
it because these ‘socialist’ countries have all introduced elements of private
health care to prod their own government monopolies to be more innovative and
cost-effective? Each year six thousand British Columbians leave to get private
health care in other countries. Meanwhile medical waitlists here are growing. It
is common to wait half a year, sometimes over a year for procedures. Meanwhile our
own surgeons lack the operating hours to keep their skills up. This sad truth was
enough to convince the U.S. not to adopt our system. I’m proposing what I call ‘Get
One, Give One’. British Columbians would avoid the cost and inconvenience of
going to another country for a medical procedure but only if they pay for an
additional procedure for someone on a medical wait list. Our operating rooms
that are often empty would fill up surgeons would improve their skills by
doing more operations, money would stay in our economy and provide work to our
health care professionals, and our wait lists for everyone would be
significantly reduced. I’ll also create a Health Care Solutions Committee to
review all proposals to use the private sector to improve our health care. They
will have one standard. If a private solution will improve our public health
care we will do it. If it will degrade our public health care we will not do it. We should never hold the health of our citizens hostage to an ideology. I will
ensure pragmatism returns to the system and that the health of each British
Columbian is our number one priority.

6 Replies to “Privatization Can Improve Public Healthcare”

  1. Does this mean that if I pay privately for a procedure that costs, say $10,000 in this 'new BC private health sector', that I am now to pay $20,000 for it? If so, how does this help someone in a waitlist to have the procedure done, as the $10,000 addition fee is a disincentive to use this ‘Get one, give one’, unless the procedure cost is less than the cost of a flight, meals and accommodation elsewhere?

  2. I applaud your recognition of the role for private health care in Canada. I anticipate you will still meet resistance from people opposed to 'any privatization' in the Canadian system. My suggestion to counter this is to acknowledge that the concept of a fully public Canadian system is a myth: we do not have now, nor have we ever had, a system that does not have private health care as part of it. For example, most outpatient medications are not covered for the majority of patients, yet this is a major, necessary part of health care. Rather than saying 'let's introduce private health care', I suggest it should be a RESTRUCTURING of how our system uses private coverage. We should be thoughtful about what is covered publicly and how to direct incentives via funding (whether private or public) in such a way as to benefit Canadian patients and the Canadian health care system.

  3. The crux of the matter is that 3rd party payer will always balloon prices to unimaginable levels. Governments need to get out of the way of those who wish to provide services of any kind. Health care is not any different than any other service.

  4. The limiting factor that leads to waitlists is lack of doctors/specialists/surgeons/staff. They can only do so many procedures. Privatization doesn't increase the number of doctors, it just gives them a choice whether to work under a private provider. This does nothing to reduce the waitlist size because for every doctor working in the private system, the public system loses one. So not only do those who can pay jump the queue, they reduce the resources available for the public system.

    Solving the problem needs to start with the basic principles of the Canadian health act, universality (everyone gets the SAMR level of care), portability and accessibility and this proposal doesn't meet those minimums.

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