The answers that Roy Romanow has provided today are
identical to those he provided when Premier of Saskatchewan and
in his preliminary musings as the Commission got underway, says
Michael Walker, executive director of The Fraser Institute, in
response to the report delivered today by the Commission on the
Future of Health Care in Canada.
"In short, the Commission concludes that more taxpayer money is
needed, that more government regulation of health care is needed
and that private provision of all health care services should be
effectively banned. In the meantime more heart surgery candidates
died on the waiting list," says Walker.
The $15 million cost of the Commission could have eliminated the
bypass surgery waiting lists in Ontario, Manitoba and
Saskatchewan combined, or all of Ontario and the Atlantic
provinces, notes Walker.
In its ideological rush to judgment, the Romanow Commission
failed to consider key facts about Canadian health care:
1. That Canada spends more, on an age-adjusted basis, than any of
the industrialized countries in the world which provide
government-sponsored universal access health care systems. Since
many of these countries which spend less have better health
money cannot be the problem
. (Figure 1)
2. The Canadian provinces which spend more don't get more health
More money has not reduced health care waiting lists in the
provinces that spend more per capita, on an age adjusted
. (Figure 2)
3. The countries which do better than Canada on health care
outcomes including France (number one in the world according to
the WHO), Sweden, Japan, and Australia all spend less, but have
different health care policies than Canada.
Romanow ignores the policies in the top performing
These top performing countries have:
· User Fees… Romanow says no to user fees.
· The top performing countries have alternative private health
care provision…Romanow says no to private insurance.
· The top performing countries have private delivery of public
health services…Romanow says no to private care.
· The top performing countries have private for-profit health
care services…Romanow says no to for-profit diagnostic and
· No country in the world has copied Canada's health care
model…Romanow says we must preserve the Canadian model.
4. Manitoba has a well functioning pharmacare program with
means-tested user fees…
Romanow says we need a new untested and unproven system
managed by Ottawa.
"As Premier of Saskatchewan Roy Romanow led his province to the
longest health care waiting lists in the country. Canadians
should place little confidence in a report which extends by
compulsion to all of the provinces the failed attitudes and
policies applied in Saskatchewan," says Walker.
Instead of more federal mandates and regulations, Canadians need
more freedom to explore different health care models and methods.
They need more of their spending power left in their hands to
spend as they see fit on their own health care. Canadians need
the freedom to spend their own money to buy access to the
accelerated treatments that an increasing number of government
agencies like Workers Compensation Boards, the military, and the
RCMP are buying from private clinics.
The Romanow Commission produces no new insights but rehashes the
prejudices and preconceptions that have brought Canadian health
care to its current difficulties. It does not earn, nor deserve,
the consideration of those seriously searching for solutions to