Mark Milke, head senior fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, said if Albertans are to have a health-care system without long lineups, operating rooms that sit idle and a shortage of medical professionals, Alberta Health must be split into two entities.
“This is about imitating systems where they have universal health care, but where they don’t care who provides it,” said Milke.
“A Canadian health-care system that lacks doctors for two-million people has gone far beyond the point where we should have introduced reforms.”
Milke suggests making one ministry responsible for managing public health insurance and standards, and the other for buying health services from a pool of public, non-profit and private health-care providers. But for that system to be effective, hospitals, clinics and other medical services must be sold to the private sector, with the province then paying those establishments, from the public purse, for service they deliver, the report states.
“You need more institutions in private and non-profit hands, in order to supply a competitive check for the providers, otherwise you have what we have now, which is an inherent conflict of interest, along with implicit pressure to buy from within,” he said.
Milke cites health-care systems in Sweden and the Catalan region of Spain as examples of where health care remains universal and equal, but where the government shops around for the most efficient service providers.
“The current system, wherein a hospital receives a global budget … is not a model for greater efficiency, it is a recipe for queues … especially as it becomes apparent at fiscal year-end that the budget allotment is running out,” the report states.
“This is about imitating systems where they have universal health care, but where they don’t care who provides it.”