False alarm on health care

August 18, 2010

Re: Sounding The Alarm On Medicare, Brett J. Skinner and Mark Rovere, Aug. 17.

Can we just once bring some real evidence to the debate about the sustainability of Canada's medicare system? This column by members of the Fraser Institute continues the tiresome insistence on using faulty logic to justify alarmist views on health care.

Three pieces of real data ought to put this debate to rest.

First, increases in the cost of health care are not a result of our public system. They are common to systems around the world, all facing new and expensive technologies and ever-increasing demand.

Second, Canada's medicare system is actually quite reasonably priced. It is the increasing cost of drugs, which are mostly privately funded, that is increasing health-care costs.

Third, user fees and privatization would increase health-care costs overall by downloading them from governments onto citizens. Furthermore, experience with user fees demonstrates that they cause people to delay necessary care, which leads to more profound and expensive illnesses when care is eventually sought.

Our system is not perfect, but fixing its flaws won't be easier if the Fraser Institute gets its way. The Canadian Medical Assocation's main policy document asserts that policy change must follow the spirit and principles that have guided medicare from the beginning.

If only the Fraser Institute were so astute.


Dr. Danielle Martin,

Chair, Canadian Doctors for Medicare, Toronto

Click here to read the original article in the National Post.


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