Quality Public Healthcare is Sustainable

April 5, 2011, 3:34 PM EST

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The Canadian Health Coalition is working hard to shatter the myth that universal, public health care is "fiscally unsustainable."

Robert Evans, Canada's leading health care economist, recently spoke out, shattering the myth that public health care is 'unsustainable'; instead he pinned the blame for soaring costs on private health care spending.

"Opponents of Medicare claim that public health care is 'fiscally unsustainable' and that the only viable solution is a shift to more private coverage," Evans said. "Bluntly, this is a lie."

Evans, O.C., Ph.D. (Economics, Harvard), an officer of the Order of Canada, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, recently delivered this message to Members of Parliament during a special briefing session.
Here are a few Medicare facts and myths from www.medicare.ca .

The Myth: Our aging population will make health care unaffordable.

The Facts: Population aging is a very small factor in increasing health care costs. At 0.8 per cent per year, it has less of an impact than population growth (1 per cent) and inflation (2.5 per cent). The key cost drivers in health care services are the private, for-profit elements - pharmaceuticals, dental, diagnostic test and other non-insured services. If one is concerned about rising costs, an aging population is not a reason to privatize the delivery of services.

The Myth: Privatization of health services will control health care costs.

The Facts: Public health care is the best way to control health care spending. Privatization is not sustainable.

Sustainability is often a code word for privatization and for-profit health care. Saying that public health care is unsustainable opens the door to privatization. Shifting from public to private spending shifts the costs burden from the wealthy to the sick.

Sandy Carricato of the National Pensioners and Senior Citizens Federation said some are sowing anxiety about the costs of an aging population.

"I think these costs will be manageable," Carricato said. "The real fiscal menace is the cost of prescription drugs. We desperately need federal leadership to bring in a universal drug plan. This would in fact save a lot of money."

The CAW is a member organization of the Canadian Health Coalition.


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