Autres nouvelles The cure for medicare: Don’t privatize — modernize

National Medicare Week has just passed in an air of optimism, as a fresh-faced government takes the reins in Ottawa — a government elected partly on a promise of renewed federal leadership on health care.

Yet these “sunny ways” are overcast by recent developments at the provincial level that entrench and legitimize two-tier care. Saskatchewan has just enacted a licensing regime for private MRI clinics, allowing those who can afford the fees — which may range into the thousands of dollars — to speed along their diagnosis and return to the public system for treatment. Quebec has just passed legislation that will allow private clinics to extra-bill for “accessory fees” accompanying medically necessary care — things like bandages and anesthetics.

Once upon a time, these moves would have been roundly condemned as violating the Canada Health Act’s principles of universality and accessibility. These days, two-tier care and extra-billing are sold to the public as strategies for saving medicare.