Private vs. Public Healthcare.

Topics: Health care, Universal health care, Health economics Pages: 6 (1820 words) Published: November 2, 2005
In Canada, a lot of debate has been raised in the last few years over the issue of "two-tier" healthcare. The public system is struggling, and there is a debate going on over whether or not private hospitals should be permitted. Universal healthcare is very cherished in Canada, but conservatives argue that introducing a private system will improve the burden on the public system. Those who oppose say that the creation of a two-tier system will result in one system that is better then the other, attracting the best doctors and the best equipment, and that those who can't afford private or do not wish to pay will only be able to obtain second-rate healthcare. Why should Canadians not have choices regarding the time, place, and nature of their medical care when the suggestion of similar restrictions for food would be met with universal outrage? It is very hard to imagine why people should be denied choice in medical services when the only governmental challenge is to make sure that no Canadian is deprived of appropriate medical care because of true financial need. The private health care system grants freedom to choose and promises increased efficiency at low prices due to competition and specialized institutions. Many people are choosing private healthcare to gain the reassurance of knowing that treatment is available promptly if they become ill or injured. In addition, the privatized system offers new advance technology and machinery, along with short waiting lists and no limits on choice and access to new drugs. The following will examine why there should be emphasis on letting the marketplace compete with the public sector for the opportunity to provide care, while at the same time targeting taxpayers' dollars to those in need of assistance. It will be demonstrated, that encompassing a private healthcare system will shorten waiting lists for treatments and surgery's, get rid of price controls on drugs, and offer more advanced equipment and technology.

The universal health care system has boasted treatment for everyone, but in reality the treatment usually comes after prolonged waiting, whether or not the patients can last. The number of people that die while on waiting lists is heart breaking, and the problem is frighteningly severe. In Ontario, patients wait up to six months for a CAT scan, up to a year for eye surgery and orthopedic surgery, and up to a year and four months for an MRI scan.1 All over Canada, patients wait for coronary bypass surgery, while the press tells of heart patients dying on the waiting list. According to Statistics Canada, one million three hundred and seventy-nine thousand people in the country are waiting for some kind of medical service, while more than one hundred and seventy-seven thousand people are waiting for surgical procedures. Many of them will not live long enough to see a doctor. For example, sixty-one-year old heart patient Philip Georgiou, checked in to a British Columbia hospital complaining of chest pains in 1997. An angiogram showed Georgiou needed immediate surgery. Twelve days later, while still awaiting the procedure, Georgiou lapsed into cardiac arrest and died. Sixty-six-year old Jeannine Lacombe, sought treatment for her chest pains at Montreal's Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital. She was strapped to a gurney and wheeled into a hallway, where four hours later, lost among sixty three other patients similarly situated, she was discovered dead. Further more, ambulances filled with ill patients repeatedly stack up in the winter in the parking lot of Vancouver General Hospital, where an estimated twenty percent of patients in the midst of heart attacks must wait an hour or more for treatment. Many hospitals are telling ambulances to go elsewhere for help. Most hospitals have the problem where emergency rooms can't handle more people; patients are already left waiting in hallways and there are no beds available. In May 1999, the Canadian Medical Journal explained how in Ontario...

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