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Experts dispel myth that privatization is the cure to problems in health care

The idea that privatization is the answer to the problems in our health care system is a myth. Many health care experts have denounced the false analyses and preconceived ideas, which suggest that increased privatization of health care will solve the problems at the heart of our system.

All indications show that a system with increased privatization actually costs more, not less, than a public, universal health care system. More privatization raises administrative costs, and the quality of services tends to get worse, not better.

The experts also tackled the myth that our public system is unsustainable because of a supposed explosion in costs. Costs are not out of control. The average spending on health care as a percentage of GDP has basically been stable over the last decades.

The reason why health care is taking up a larger portion of provincial budgets is because governments reduced their own fiscal capacity and because of reductions in other government services. All panelists did identify that the biggest cost increases certainly didn’t come from the salaries of front-line workers but by the increased costs of pharmaceuticals, new medical equipment, and by costs related to the administration of P3s.

These analyses were presented during a panel at a conference on health care, organized by CUPE. The conference, held in Victoria, British Columbia, brought together almost 300 health care workers from across the country. In total, CUPE represents 180,000 workers in the Canadian health care sector.

Erica Johnson, a host at the CBC, led the panel discussion and was joined by Robert Evans, a health care economist at the University of British Columbia; Dr. Robert Woollard, a family physician, and vice-president of Canadian Doctors for Medicare; Natalie Mehra, the director of the Ontario Health Coalition; and Damien Contandriopoulos, associate professor at the Université de Montréal.