The Canadian Medical Association is again beating the drums for more private health care. 

Currently doctors are supposed  to opt out of medicare fully or else be in it fully. (Two of my doctors have opted out fully.)  The CMA is now proposing that doctors should be allowed to work both in the public (medicare) sector and in private, patient-pays medicine.

The big advantage of this is supposedly to cut wait times.  And certainly if you go from medicare to patient-pay, you open up a spot in the public sector.   As it stands now you aren’t allowed, unless you’re truly rich, to spend your own money on your own medical care.  Surveys tell us more and more Canadians – Quebeckers especially – are prepared to pay for private insurance.  Already governments are paying astronomical costs for the public system.  In Quebec, the government now spends 43% of program spending on medicare.

Would you, in certain circumstances, like to be able to spend your own money for your health care needs?

Would you be concerned that this might lead to two-tier health care where the better off would be able to access the system quickly, the less well off would have less access especially if many doctors opted out of the public system either fully or in part?



  1. 1
    Barbara Says:

    There is a naivete in the Canadian public about the access that private insurance would provide. While RAMQ might make us wait, private insurance has the right to refuse payment. There are deductibles which can be substantial. There are situations which exclude you from further benefits when related illnesses strike.
    I fear this is a moneygrab by the folks in the white coats. I sometimes overhear my college students talk about their future careers and those interested in medicine especially value the comfy lifestyle they believe will be theirs in the future. Young ladies talk about it being easier to be a part-time doctor, thus allowing time for family. Young men talk about the pricey cars. It depresses me.

  2. 2
    Cate McB Says:

    I’m certainly not in favour of a two-tiered system. Everywhere it has been tried in the Western world, the public system declines greatly — yet another way of saying that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I would agree with Barbara that the Canadian public are naive re: the alleged access that private insurance would provide. I recommend highly Michael Moore’s latest film called, Sicko. Moore details the lack of access in the US even for those who thought they had private health insurance but then they got the wrong disease or needed the wrong operation according to their HMO and presto, they joined the ranks of the uninsured. What is so good about Moore’s film is that he doesn’t stay in the US but examines the problematics of the US system by comparison with systems in Britain, France, Canda, and Cuba. This is definately a money grab on the part of some white coats but at the same time, I’m not sure what percentage (if we even know) of doctors in Canada support the CMA stand.

  3. 3
    Cate McB Says:

    Another point to be considered is that a great deal of what doctors do these days can be done better and more cheaply by nurse practitioners (NPs). So let’s give more work to the NPs so that the white coats can focus more on their essentials and get more essentials done in less time, thus greatly relieving long wait-times.

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