By Rory Leishman
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty was up in arms last week over
Clearly, McGuinty does not get it. Under the
“But that’s two-tiered medicare,” wail the Liberals. So what?
Granted, a two-tiered, public and private, medicare system is hardly better than a single-tiered system run by the government. While people who can afford private medical insurance in
The ultimate remedy for public-sector medicare is to eliminate the inefficient system altogether. Yet the idea is anathema to liberals and socialists. They think it is beyond the capacity of statecraft to devise a system for the private delivery of medicare services that is superior to the model in the
This is not to suggest that the
A key flaw in the
The companies are closely regulated. To hold down costs for the sick and elderly, they must provide insurance at the same rate as other clients within a designated region. In addition, the Swiss Cantons subsidize medicare premiums, so everyone, regardless of income, can afford comprehensive, basic coverage for sickness and accidents.
Thanks to this private-sector system, Swiss patients rarely have to endure long waits for basic medical treatments. But to be sure, the quality of Swiss medicare does not come cheap. According to the latest figures from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development on health care spending per person per year, the total for
If the governments of
Alberta Premier Ralph Klein is eager to experiment with more private-sector competition for public medicare. Prime Minister Stephen Harper should allow him to do so within the limits of the Canada Health Act.
As for McGuinty, he should beware: By refusing to give private-sector providers any opportunity to reduce wait times for key medical services, he could incur the wrath of fed-up voters in the next