A decentralized delivery model could solve most of Medicare’s problems.
Increasingly people have angst about the system. Eight out of ten Canadians in a recent Angus Reid Poll thought the system was in crisis.
A new Medicare model has the potential to retain universality, restore service levels, control costs and introduce transparency and accountability to the system. That model, Universal Medical Savings Accounts (UMSAs), allocates existing public funding directly to individual citizen-consumers of health-care services.
The World Health Organisation’s comparative review of the performance of national health care systems has occasioned much navel-gazing the world around.
A local academic recently claimed that the profit motive “has become the sole cost driver in Medicare.” He said that Canada’s basic healthcare system costs the same as it did in 1971 and attributed increases in spending since to “the private system we have no control over”, namely drug companies, and private clinics.
Born in Europe in the 19th century, most governments in the developed world have embraced the concept as a central public policy goal. People looked to the political system to deliver them from the extremes of poverty and misfortune.
Let’s make life simpler for politicians who want to deliver on their promise of universal, high- quality Medicare. We can do this by “consumerizing” the system and putting health-care customers back in control.