The Truth about the Canadian health care system

Truth About the Drug Company author/Harvard Medical School professor Marcia Angell and her colleague Arnold Relman get right to the point in their letter to the editor in today’s Wall St. Journal.

They point out (as I did in my earlier post) that the Canadian Supreme Court’s ruling only permitted private health care facilities in Quebec because the public system wasn’t providing adequate access.

The target of the… decision was the waiting lists, not the concept of a single-payer system. Canada spends about half as much per person on its health-care system as we do… We hope that this decision will be a wake-up call to the Canadian public: make government fund your otherwise popular and successful single-payer system more generously or watch Canadian health care turn into the kind of unaffordable, inequitable, inadequate and commercialized hodgepodge that now torments your neighbor to the South.

They argue that waiting lists aren’t caused by a socialized system itself, only by lack of funding. But is that really true, or do the two go hand in hand?

June 24, 2005

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