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Research Shows Medicare Sustainable Without Increased Private Financing

OTTAWA – Despite ongoing claims that only privatization can stave off the unsustainability in health care, research shows that a wide range of possible public financing options are possible, options that not only meet current health care needs but hold open opportunities for needed innovations like a national Pharmacare plan and broader access to long-term care.  Doctors concerned about access to quality care are expressing enthusiasm for models that enable our health care system to continue to offer care based on need, and not on ability to pay.

“This new study shows that there are a number of viable public solutions for paying for health care costs,” says Dr. Danielle Martin, Chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare, referring to the study Broadening the Base of Publicly-Funded Health Care released earlier today. “None of these solutions requires any Canadian, rich or poor, to buy private insurance or to pay out-of-pocket for the health care they need.”

“We know that how we pay for health care has an impact on the quality of the care we receive. This paper reinforces the fact that public financing affords Canadians more equitable access to quality health care than private financing. Patients and doctors should discuss these proposals to agree on ways of paying for health care costs without undermining the quality of our care or comprising our principles.”

The study, published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), recommends consideration of a number of public sector financing proposals, including eliminating the private health insurance subsidy, earmarking specific taxes for health care services, levying "sin taxes" on unhealthy foods, and increasing income taxes. The study ruled out health care user-fees as an equitable alternative on the grounds that such fees are known to have negative health consequences, particularly for the sick, the elderly, and the poor.

“Canadians have some difficult choices to make to ensure that they continue to receive equitable and affordable health care,” says Dr. Martin. “Fortunately, as this study shows, there are a number of equitable and efficient public sector solutions to address the problem of rising health care costs. Canadians must decide which solution or solutions they want and make sure that their elected representatives put them into place.”

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For more information, please contact Sean Meagher, Executive Director, Canadian Doctors for Medicare, at (416) 820-7889.

Please click here for the PDF version of this Media Release.