Think ‘outside the box’ to fix health care system

Think ‘outside the box’ to fix health care system

By Digby W. (dick) Belcher, The Daily NewsAugust 16, 2012

Re: ‘Two-tiered health-care system unacceptable’ (Daily News, Aug. 14)

We Canadians have to start thinking outside of the box.

The fact that a private healthcare facility like the Cambie Surgical Centre has not set up shop in Nanaimo seems to have become « proof » that a two-tiered system just won’t work.

You are afraid that the « competition » of private clinics will make waiting lists longer and drive up the cost of everyone’s health care.

I have news for you, the opposite will happen. Competition drives and accelerates innovation.

Let’s take the example of what has happened in Sweden in the last 10 years.

Facing massive deficits, the Swedish government lowered taxes, cut spending and implemented reforms to increase efficiency in the delivery of social services including health care. While the Swedish system remains publicly funded, the government opened up the health care system to private providers which compete alongside the public system for contracts. Involving the private sector did more than increase efficiency.

It spurred innovation which resulted in savings to both private and public health sectors. Result? Clinics designed with state of the art technology; non-existent wait times; clean hospitals.

This could happen here in Canada if only we could get past our politicians and our prejudices relative to the Medical Protection Act.

Look outside of the box. We already have a two-tiered health-care system. Tens of thousands of Canadians every year are making the trip to the U.S. and other countries to receive timely medical attention.

Wouldn’t it be great if these health-care dollars being spent abroad could remain in Canada? It is all about competition, not if the organization delivering the medical service is for profit or not.

Digby W. (Dick) Belcher Nanaimo

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