Last Updated: Wednesday - 01/05/2011
November 19, 2001
CHAC disputes private health-care claims
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA — The Catholic Health Association of Canada wants to know what evidence there is for claims that private, for-profit health care is cheaper and more efficient than public health care.
The CHAC told the Senate committee studying Canada's health care system that any of the committee's final recommendations dealing with the federal government's role should be "evidence based."
In presenting a brief to the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology Nov. 8, the CHAC said the committee's latest report suggests that user fees, medical savings accounts, contracts with private, for-profit health care providers, and the extension of private insurance could be introduced with fairness.
That conclusion seems to ignore the authoritative research on these subjects, said Sandra Keon, the CHAC's secretary-treasurer, who presented the brief. "There is strong evidence that the growth of for-profit health care will increase - not decrease - costs, and tends to decrease quality," she said.
The CHAC also said any rethinking of Canada's medicare system, "requires a reaffirmation of the societal values that gave rise to the health system, a critical analysis of new and emerging values, and a change in the focus of the discussion from the marketplace toward a discussion of the cores values that will make for a humane future, an equitable social order, and a quality health care system."
Keon also noted several witnesses have raised concerns about a possible conflict of interest on the part of Senator Michael Kirby, a committee member who also sits on the board of Extendicare, one of Canada's largest private health care corporations.
The committee, which has been holding hearings across the country for the past month, began a major review of the health care system last year and tabled its fourth report in September.
It suggested the health care system is unsustainable and that user fees and contracting out services to for-profit health care corporations must be considered.
"The report's analysis is rooted in market ideology and clearly favours turning to for-profit health care providers and institutions as the best way to address problems in the health care system," Keon said after the hearing.
"We believe it is important that the Senate understand that Senator Kirby's connection to Extendicare has certainly raised concerns among Canadians that the committee's report may be biased."
The Catholic Health Association of Canada is the national voice of Catholic health care in Canada with a membership that includes seven provincial health associations; 34 sponsors/owners of health care organizations, 127 hospitals and homes, health care professionals, and affiliate organizations and individuals.
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