To protect and expand public health care, our governments must enforce the Canada Health Act and guard against private, for-profit services. Access to care should be based on medical need, not ability to pay.
Did you know?
- Private, for-profit corporations are eroding the public and universal nature of health care in Canada.
- The Canada Health Act says health care must be publicly delivered without user fees or extra billing. But our governments have allowed private, for-profit surgical and other speciality clinics to open across the country creating a two-tier system of care.
- Only the wealthy can afford the high fees that private clinics charge to access care, allowing them to buy their way into treatment. This deepens inequality between high-income Canadians and the rest of us.
- Wait times for many medical services are far too long. But for-profit clinics make things worse. They pull medical staff away from the public system, decrease the hours of service, and make wait lists even longer.
- For-profit health care is more expensive, of lower quality and less safe. A 2011 study found that knee surgery for injured workers in a for-profit clinic cost $3200 compared to $960 in a public hospital – and it took them more time to return to work after surgery.
- Doctors who own or hold shares in private clinics have a financial incentive to refer patients to them, even if it isn’t in the patient’s best interest. There is no law in Canada that says they can’t do this.