Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 1:22 EDT

Canadians see increased private health care delivery as a threat to public medicare

January 21, 2013

OTTAWA, Jan. 21, 2013 /CNW/ – Additional private delivery of health
services is seen as a threat rather than a complement to the public
system in Canada, according to a survey conducted by EKOS Research Associates for The Conference Board of
Canada’s Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care.

“Canadians are not particularly optimistic regarding the impacts of
private health care, with the majority concluding that allowing private
services will cause the public system to deteriorate, rather than
increasing its efficiency and helping to reduce wait times,” said Louis Thériault, Director, Health Economics.


        --  Three in five Canadians felt that increased private delivery of
            health care services would weaken the public system.
        --  Support for increased private delivery was highest in Alberta
            and lowest in Eastern and Central Canada.
        --  Support for increased private delivery of health care rises
            with income.

Many publicly funded health care services already are delivered through
private enterprises, but Canadians were asked if they believe that
allowing more private delivery would improve health care in Canada (by
encouraging the public sector to become more efficient and relieving
pressure on the public organizations), or whether they felt that this
would worsen health care (by diverting limited resources from the
public system).

The majority (60 per cent) of respondents said that allowing private
services will cause the public system to deteriorate. Only one-third
(36 per cent) see private delivery of health care services as a way of
improving efficiency and reducing wait times.

Openness to additional private delivery of health care services was
highest in Alberta, which was evenly split between respondents who said
it would reduce wait times and those who felt it would weaken the
public system. Regionally, respondents from Quebec and the Atlantic
provinces expressed the most skepticism about more private delivery of
health services.

Support for some private delivery of health services was higher among
men than women and gained support among respondents with higher
incomes. While only 25 per cent of respondents making $20,000 or less
supported increased private delivery, 43 per cent of those making
$100,000 or more approved of it.

The survey found little support for the idea that individuals should be
allowed to pay extra for quicker access to health care services – 57
per cent disagreed, while only 32 per cent of respondents agreed with
this idea.

Other findings from the survey, which was conducted in April and May
2012 by EKOS Research Associates, found that:

        --  Canadians place a great deal of importance on a public health
            care system, with nine in ten (89 per cent) saying access to
            such a system is important, and only five per cent placing
            little importance on publicly-funded health care;
        --  Fully seven in ten (72 per cent) agree that a two-tiered health
            care system exists;
        --  Seven in ten (69 per cent) believe Canadian health care is
            becoming more two-tiered, and only three per cent believe it is
            becoming less two-tiered.

EKOS Research Associates conducted a study to update and refine our
understanding of Canadian views on health and the health care
system.The methodology for this study involved a nationally
representative survey of 2,036 Canadians 18 years of age and older.
EKOS surveyed 534 Canadians by telephone and 1,502 respondents
completed the survey online. The sample source for this study was
members of the EKOS panel, which was specifically designed for
online/telephone surveys.

The study was supported by the Canadian Medical Association,
Accreditation Canada and the Conference Board’s Canadian Alliance for
Sustainable Health Care (CASHC). Launched in 2011, CASHC is a five-year
Conference Board program of research and dialogue. It will delve deeply
into facets of Canada’s health care challenge, including the financial,
workplace, and institutional dimensions, in an effort to develop
forward-looking qualitative and quantitative analysis and solutions to
make the system more sustainable.


SOURCE Conference Board of Canada

Source: PR Newswire