For those of you south of the 49, here’s a healthcare “teachable moment”, courtesy of the governments of Canada:
Pressured by an aging population and the need to rein in budget deficits, Canada’s provinces are taking tough measures to curb healthcare costs, a trend that could erode the principles of the popular state-funded system.
“There’s got to be some change to the status quo whether it happens in three years or 10 years,” said Derek Burleton, senior economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank.
“We can’t continually see health spending growing above and beyond the growth rate in the economy because, at some point, it means crowding out of all the other government services.
“At some stage we’re going to hit a breaking point.”
Healthcare costs are out of control in Canada. They, among other sweet entitlements, are decimating provincial budgets. Canadians respond in typical fashion by saying, “keep your hands off our *free* healthcare.” All the while our system is going broke (or is broke), has become bloated and inefficient, and is delivering services at a snails pace.
Speaking of costs:
Healthcare in Canada is delivered through a publicly funded system, which covers all “medically necessary” hospital and physician care and curbs the role of private medicine. It ate up about 40 percent of provincial budgets, or some C$183 billion ($174 billion) last year.
If you Americans want to get an idea how much Obamacare and his “free” system is going to cost, do this simple math: Canada has 1/10 the population of the States. $183 billion was eaten up by our provinces to pay for healthcare. Now multiply.
Spending has been rising 6 percent a year under a deal that added C$41.3 billion of federal funding over 10 years.
But that deal ends in 2013, and the federal government is unlikely to be as generous in future, especially for one-off projects.
“As Ottawa looks to repair its budget balance… one could see these one-time allocations to specific health projects might be curtailed,” said Mary Webb, senior economist at Scotia Capital.
Brian Golden, a professor at University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business, said provinces are weighing new sources of funding, including “means-testing” and moving toward evidence-based and pay-for-performance models.
“Why are we paying more or the same for cataract surgery when it costs substantially less today than it did 10 years ago? There’s going to be a finer look at what we’re paying for and, more importantly, what we’re getting for it,” he said.
Other problems include trying to control independently set salaries for top hospital executives and doctors and rein in spiraling costs for new medical technologies and drugs.
Good luck. Try taking the financial incentive away from doctors and see what happens. Taking away the financial incentive from doctors is the main reason why we lost so many of them to the States the last 20 years. I know this seems crazy, but doctors, not unlike every other Joe in Canada, like to make money. They don’t like being capped, the resent it. It you cap a doctors pay, they will do less work. This is the reality of life.
Ontario says healthcare could eat up 70 percent of its budget in 12 years, if all these costs are left unchecked.
Then what is the solution to cutting costs, where will the cuts start?
In a report released last week, TD Bank said Ontario should consider other proposals to help cut costs, including scaling back drug coverage for affluent seniors and paying doctors according to quality and efficiency of care.
Yes, cut drug coverage for “affluent seniors.” Unfortunately, that pool has shrunk considerably since Dalton McGuinty came to power, I hope there is a plan B.
And that pretty much sums up how healthcare works in Canada. Canadian provinces are not allowed to set up for-profit/private clinics because they benefit the “rich” and everyone in Canada is mandated equal healthcare privilages as dictated by law. However, when CUTTING programs for healthcare, the government always looks first at the “rich.” It’s not as if “rich” Canadians didn’t pay their fair share of taxes throughout their lives, and many times they probably paid MORE than their fair share, but when it comes to cuts, all of a sudden we are not all equal, the “rich” suddenly have targets on their backs.
So, you may never have paid taxes in your life in Canada, or you may have walked off a banana boat onto these shores 10 minutes ago, but YOUR drug benefits are free, but a tax-paying Canadian will have his coverage CUT because he was stupid enough to become rich.
You see, no one in the highest offices of power ever suggests that we cut the “abortion budget”, or not pay for sex-change operations for the transgendered, oh no. Keep your stinkin’ hands off my body. If someone wants to lead a lifestyle whereby they get pregnant, oh, let’s say 10 times in their life, and has an abortion every time, well, taxpayers are on the hook for it. Irresponsible? I told you, keep your stinkin’ hands off my body.
But if you’re rich? Pay up, deadbeat.
What other brilliant cost-saving measures are up for discussion?
Scotia Capital’s Webb said one cost-saving idea may be to make patients aware of how much it costs each time they visit a healthcare professional. “(The public) will use the services more wisely if they know how much it’s costing,” she said.
“If it’s absolutely free with no information on the cost and the information of an alternative that would be have been more practical, then how can we expect the public to wisely use the service?”
What, I’ve been told all my life that healthcare is free?
This is not only an idea that won’t save money, it’s an idea that will cost money. Plain and simple – most citizens of Canada do not give a SHIT about the cost of healthcare, and a piece of paper outlining that Sanjit’s emergency visit for his sore throat cost taxpayers $145.00 means nothing to Sanjit. NOTHING. As long as there is no bottom line that says Sanjit has to pay a portion of that bill, Sanjit and all the little Sanjit’s of Canada could not care less.
And how will this idea cost taxpayers more money? Well, unless we have trained robots hiding amongst the ranks in Health Canada, who is going to administer this idea? We will need a new department, photocopy paper, new computers, an operating budget, blah blah to bloody hell blah. Wait, I know where we can get the money for this! From affluent Canadians. We’ll just take their drug plans.
Works EVERY time.