Surgeries cost up to 150 per cent more in private clinics: Quebec study

Posted on April 25, 2023 in Health Policy Context

Source: — Authors: – Commentary
APRIL 25, 2023.   By Pat Van Horne

This week’s round-up of who is saying what about public health care includes a Quebec study on how much more private surgeries costs and expert opinion on what patients need from health care.

Medical procedures cost up to 150 per cent more in private clinics: Quebec study

“. . .in 2019-2020, the cost of a carpal tunnel surgery averaged $908 in the private sector compared to $495 in the public sector; a short colonoscopy cost $739 in the private sector compared to $290 in a public institution,” said Anne Plourde, researcher, Institut de recherche et d’informations socioéconomiques (IRIS), about the Institute’s findings on the costs of surgeries and other procedures performed in the private sector in Quebec to CTV News Montreal/The Canadian Press, April 24, 2023

Collaboration, not competition, key to health care

“Competition, in a true market for any good or service, requires a set of conditions, including a large number of buyers and sellers making homogenous products; perfect knowledge among buyers and sellers; and mobility of the factors of production. None of these exists in health care, in Canada or anywhere else. Patients are not savvy consumers choosing between near-identical products on the basis of price or the bells and whistles. They are sick people in need of compassionate care close to home. . .” said Dr. Danielle Martin, a professor and chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto, in the Toronto Star, April 19, 2023

Lack of confidence in public health care doesn’t mean a call for privatization

“People are getting more dissatisfied, but they’re not necessarily looking at privatization as the option that’s going to make everything better. . . You have essentially a third of Canadians who say, ‘I don’t want to get sick because I don’t think the system is going to be there for me,’” said Mario Canseco, president of Research Co., in the Toronto Star, April 21, 2023

What if education was treated like health care?

“The Canada Health Act (CHA) declares that ‘the primary objective of Canadian health care policy is to protect, promote and restore the physical and mental well-being of residents of Canada and to facilitate reasonable access to health services without financial or other barriers. . .Universality, comprehensiveness and accessibility are its three substantive principles. . . Suppose that 15 per cent of students don’t get a place in the public (education) system. There would be arenas full of protesters, demonstrations at the legislature and every school board office. No government would survive such a debacle. . . The courts have wisely rejected arguments to undermine the essential architecture of medicare because the vast majority of Canadians want to preserve it. It does not self-evidently follow that they shouldn’t make rulings to strengthen it — an outcome universally desired and urgently required,” said Steven Lewis, adjunct professor of Health Policy at Simon Fraser University, in the  Saskatoon Star Phoenix, April 21, 2023

Comments on health care reform – read between the lines?

“A significant increase in federal funding, the introduction of new accountability measures, and recently announced provincial and territorial plans to improve their respective health systems should give patients and providers hope that change is not only possible, but it’s happening. . .What we now need is ongoing political will to make brave decisions to reform how we deliver care, improve access for patients and create better working conditions for providers. We owe it to the patients and health professionals to leverage this moment in time to expand access, support our workforce and drive lasting improvements. . . What we now need is ongoing political will to make brave decisions to reform how we deliver care, improve access for patients and create better working conditions for providers,” said Dr. Alika Lafontaine, president of the Canadian Medical Association, in The Hill Times, April 24,

You can’t swallow one puppy two times a day – social prescribing a thing?

“You have, at the primary care level, patients coming in with issues which really aren’t appropriately treated medically … where a non-medical prescription would be better. . . It really does reply to all of those concerns that we have about social determinants of health. But it doesn’t necessarily address the structural sort of factors which caused those disparities in the first place,”  said Alayne Adams, associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine at McGill University, to CBC News, April 22, 2023

On the other hand, what about Artificial Intelligence?

“I think it’s a really important question to study because medicine is a field that is not static, what constitutes the standard of care is something that is dynamic and changes over time,” said Rahul Krishnan, assistant professor of computational medicine at the University of Toronto, to CTV News, April 24, 2023.

Pat Van Horne represents the United Steelworkers on the Canadian Health Coalition’s Board of Directors. She compiles the weekly Health files for the coalition’s e-newsletter.

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