Tuesday, March 29, 2005

More Demand for Fundamental Reform of the Health Care System

I have always been a proponent of a public-private partnership for the health care system. Not to mention that I believe people should allow to make choices - be it a two-tier system or have your treatment at the States or other countries, we need fundamental reform of the health care system.

Pouring more money into the "black hole" obviously is NOT a long term solution to the strained system. Health care needs more efficiency and resources. If the government cannot provide/afford those resources, the system will have to look from somewhere else. The logic is very simple.

However, most Canadians are contradicting themselves. They want changes. But the only viable alternatives to fundamentally reform the health care system is to either go for the "triple-p" and/or allow private medical care.

Most Canadians are still not up for either options yet.

Fundamental reforms wanted in health system, poll finds
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Updated at 5:33 PM EST

Canadian Press

Ottawa — The multibillion-dollar health accord signed last fall by the Prime Minister and premiers struck the right note with Canadians, but we're still a long way from being satisfied, suggests a public opinion poll conducted for the federal government.

The majority of the 1,811 people surveyed last fall by pollster Ipsos-Reid indicated they felt fairly upbeat about the economy and the general direction of the country.

They also seemed pleased with the massive $41-billion, 10-year health accord struck by first ministers last September.

But the Liberals can't afford to be complacent, warns the survey, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

Polling between Sept. 30 and Oct. 12, 2004 — soon after the health accord was inked — suggested a 13-percentage-point increase over two years earlier in the number of people who said they were “strongly” or “somewhat” satisfied with medicare.

However, fully 89 per cent said health care must remain a high government priority, although there was less demand for new dollars and more for fundamental reform of the health system.

When probed more closely, about three-quarters said fundamental change to medicare should be a higher priority than new funds; only one-quarter said more money was the greatest need.

That's a significant change in direction from two years earlier, when 42 per cent said money was the biggest problem facing medicare.

Still, almost two-thirds said they felt that Canada is “generally headed in the right direction” with improvements seen in health, the environment overall and efforts to reduce child poverty.

Such findings must have been music to the ears of Prime Minister Paul Martin's beleaguered minority Liberal government.

Last week, opposition parties threatened to bring down the government over a Liberal budget implementation bill which includes environmental measures.

The Opposition Conservatives say it goes too far; the New Democrats and Bloc Québécois say it doesn't go far enough.

Since it's a confidence vote, a united opposition could defeat the bill and the minority Liberals, forcing an election.

Besides listing health care and the environment as top priorities, 84 per cent of people surveyed called for tighter government spending controls.

Similar numbers supported increased investment in education and training.

Tighter security against possible terror attacks was a lower priority, at 69 per cent.

Curiously, the erroneous perception that Ottawa is running a deficit continues to grow despite the fact last month's budget was the eighth consecutive balanced budget.

Pollsters found the number of people who think Ottawa is running in the red rose to 44 per cent last fall from 37 per cent in 2002.

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