OCTOBER 15, 2007



Setting Dr Day straight on medicare

Dr Brian Day is wont to make dramatic, unsupportable statements about Canadian healthcare - such as his assertion we placed 30th in the world in a WHO study, a statistic that has been widely discredited. And then, in this publication, he claimed we're "fighting it out for last place" with the US among developed countries.

Fortunately few Canadians are likely to believe that the owner of the largest private hospital in the country is a disinterested party. Dr Day would like to bring two-tier medicine to Canada, with one service for the rich who can afford to pay — and qualify — for private insurance, another for the rest of us.

As for Dr Day's statement that co-payments for medically necessary services are already rampant in Canada, the facts say otherwise. True co-payments are not the extra costs some patients choose to pay for a later model cataract lens or hip replacement. Rather they are the unreimbursed fees that insured US patients pay every time they walk into a doctor's office, and which are currently forbidden by the Canada Health Act. They are the 20-30% unreimbursed fees insured US patients pay to their surgeons, anesthetists and all other specialists for medically necessary care.

This year, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a study showing how successful initiatives in team-based care in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario have produced dramatic cuts in wait times for surgery. These are good examples of the efficient, effective and responsible principles Dr Day so often says are missing in our system.

Rather than lining the pockets of private clinic owners by bringing in two-tier care, we should be focusing on improvements that will benefit all Canadians, not just a privileged few. 

Karen Palmer Jonathon DellaVedova Dr Margaret McGregor
Canadian Doctors for Medicare



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