For many Canadians, the Victoria Day long weekend marks the beginning of summertime holiday planning, if not a late May escape after a long winter. For those who travel outside of the country in the coming months, we have a modest proposal: find a pub, sit down with locals and ask about their nations health care system.
canadian health care
With the deadline for filing income tax returns now passed, some Canadians may still be in shock at the size of their tax bills while others no doubt find solace in the belief that their taxes help pay for a high quality universal access health care system.
When it comes to health care, all three of Canadas major federal political parties are drinking the same Kool-Aid. All three say they will maintain the six per cent annual increases to health care transfer payments to the provinces past 2014. But does it not seem odd they want to spend more money on a problem that has little to do with how much we spend, especially at a time when Ottawa can ill afford it?
When stacked up against countries with similar health care goals, namely universal coverage, it quickly becomes apparent that Canada's health care system is not worth emulating. While we're a top spender, we have among the longest waiting lists, low levels of medical technologies and perhaps the problem that hits closest to home, a short supply of doctors.
When it comes to Canadian health care, everyone seems to agree our system has problems and needs to be improved. But the discussion always seems to end there, with any new idea for reform immediately discarded by vote-sensitive politicians and vested special interest groups.
Last week, the BC government announced it was increasing Medical Service Plan (MSP) premiums by approximately six per cent in 2010 to help fund rapidly growing health care costs. The government also pledged to keep increasing taxes for British Columbians through annual increases in MSP premiums to match continuously increased health care spending.
While the government may claim it needs the extra revenue for health care, the reality is this tax increase will do nothing to improve health care for British Columbians, and in fact, its the wrong approach altogether.
In the debate over health care reform in Canada, defenders of the status quo often resort to the tired old claim that a greater role for competition, private financing, or private provision of health care services in Canada would mean the Americanization of health care.
Indeed, the claim is often made that proponents of private financing and delivery of health care in Canada are recommending the U.S. approach to health care policy.
Its well time we put this misleading and false argument to rest.