To protect and expand public health care, our governments must enforce the Canada Health Act and guard against private, for-profit services. Access to care should be based on medical need, not ability to pay.
Did you know?
- Private, for-profit corporations are eroding the public and universal nature of health care in Canada.
- The Canada Health Act says health care must be publicly delivered without user fees or extra billing. But our governments have allowed private, for-profit surgical and other speciality clinics to open across the country creating a two-tier system of care.
- Only the wealthy can afford the high fees that private clinics charge to access care, allowing them to buy their way into treatment. This deepens inequality between high-income Canadians and the rest of us.
- Wait times for many medical services are far too long. But for-profit clinics make things worse. They pull medical staff away from the public system, decrease the hours of service, and make wait lists even longer.
- For-profit health care is more expensive, of lower quality and less safe. A 2011 study found that knee surgery for injured workers in a for-profit clinic cost $3200 compared to $960 in a public hospital – and it took them more time to return to work after surgery.
- Doctors who own or hold shares in private clinics have a financial incentive to refer patients to them, even if it isn’t in the patient’s best interest. There is no law in Canada that says they can’t do this.
Public health care prioritizes people over profits
Canadians express strong support for and pride in our health care system. It works for us and our families every day and ensures that everyone has equal access to medically-necessary services when they need it.
Our health care system faces challenges. But the best solutions to meet them are public solutions. Public solutions respect the values of equity, fairness and universality. The fact is we won’t solve the wait-time problem by allowing wealthy Canadians to pay for faster care and services at private clinics.
We need more, not less, investment in the public system.
- The federal government needs to enforce the Canada Health Act, stop illegal user fees and extra billing, and compel provinces to uphold the Act.
- Provincial governments need to fid ways to reduce wait times. They need to take an active interest in protecting and expanding our public health care system, and oppose the development of private, for-private clinics.
- Across our health care system, staffing levels should be increased to reduce wait times and improve quality of care.
- Cuts to health care funding must be reversed and funding restored, so everyone can access the care they require.
Public solutions cost less, cover everyone, and deliver more.
Two-tier health care benefits the wealthy and results in longer wait times for us and our families. We shouldn’t have to worry about whether we can afford to pay for the care we need.
Canadians deserve better.
We need to ask the federal and provincial governments to act now.