More Private Healthcare in Canada?

Publication, Healthcare & Welfare, Dennis Owens

Executive Summary

  • A new book puts Canada’s Medicare system in context by describing the private healthcare sector in other countries with universal access.
  • The economic principles that shaped Medicare categorize healthcare as a good significantly different from others that operate successfully in a market.
  • Universal access healthcare programs take two forms, one that treats it as social insurance and one that considers it to be social welfare.
  • Although Britain’s National Health Service is based on the latter, it has veered quite sharply towards the creation of internal markets that mimic a competitive process.
  • The insurance-based systems in France, Germany and Belgium have multiple insurers and vibrant private sectors of healthcare providers.
  • Sweden and Australia adopted programs funded by general taxation, but neither country requires the strictly public provision of services.
  • One can fervently defend Medicare and still see the value of allowing the private sector a significant role in service delivery.
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