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