One irony of Canadian life is that the most economically free province in the country, Alberta, often has government policy that is the most hostile to private health care. Another irony, this time right across Canada, is that one can spend any amount of money on a basic necessity of life such as food. But when Canadians want to use their own money to purchase medical treatment to improve, prolong, or even save that same life, they are legally prevented from doing so.
Get ready for Medicares annual summer slowdown, where the forecast calls for possibly poorer than usual service levels.
Every year, provincial health care systems across Canada dutifully reduce the volume of services they provide in preparation for the summer vacation season. This planned-for reduction has the inevitable effect of lengthening waiting times for Canadians over the summer months (and during Christmas holidays). The added twist this year is the slowdowns might be extended in a bid to reduce expenditures.
As those who have ever endured painful months, or even years, waiting for medically necessary treatment have discovered, all the new cash poured into Canadas health care system in recent years has made little difference.
Last month the Canadian Institute of Health Information [CIHI] released a report indicating that about 80 per cent of patients received treatment in priority clinical areas (cancer, heart, diagnostic imaging, joint replacement and sight restoration) within targeted benchmarks. But a closer examination suggests that it is certainly no reason for celebration.