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Canada: Health-care system unsustainable, says think tank
TheStar ^ | 03/10/04 | CP

Posted on 03/10/2004 10:32:51 AM PST by Pikamax

Health-care system unsustainable, says think tank

OTTAWA (CP) — The health-care system is not sustainable in its current form, the Conference Board of Canada said in a report released today.

The system, which cost $121 billion last year, requires an increase of more than $5 billion a year just to maintain existing services, says the think tank. That's a 4.1 per cent increase, more than double the rate of inflation.

The study is more sombre than the Romanow report which said the system can be sustained provided there is reform and increased federal funding.

"Some provinces could spend in excess of 50 per cent of their budgets on health care by 2020, just as the demographic bulge of Canadian seniors start to pass through the systems," the conference board report said.

"This challenge cuts to the heart of medicare — the belief that health care is a public good for all who need it, regardless of their ability to pay."

In contrast, a December report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, a federal-provincial body, said health costs can be managed.

"Canadian studies suggest that the effects of population growth and aging will be manageable . . . within the context of a growing economy," the institute said.

Canada last year allocated 10 per cent of GDP to health, the same proportion as in 1992.

The conference board does not call for more health spending, but it does point to an imbalance in the current arrangements.

It predicts that federal surpluses will rise steadily over the next 17 years, reaching $78 billion by 2019-20, while the aggregate provincial-territorial deficit will rise to $11 billion.

The study gives the system poor marks overall. It says Canada is the third-highest health spender among OECD countries, yet ranks 13th on a set of health indicators.

But it adds the system is an important economic engine, employing 1.5 million skilled and educated people, or 10 per cent of the employed work force.

It is silent on whether there should be an expanded role for private health care, but notes that the debate is headed for the Supreme Court of Canada.

In that case, Quebec family doctor Jacques Chaoulli and his patient George Zeliotis argue that patients have a constitutional right to pay for medical service.

"If successful, this court challenge will have a profound influence on the financing and timely delivery of health care in Canada," says the study.

The report was commissioned for Alberta Health and Wellness. Alberta has been very critical of the current medicare system, but lead author Glen Roberts said the provincial government had no influence on his conclusions.

"I think it points out what we have been saying all along, that money is not the solution, it's part of the puzzle, but that substantial reform needs to take place," said Alberta Premier Ralph Klein in Edmonton.

Klein said Alberta's funding of the $138,000 study shouldn't cause people to question the report's validity.

"They can have all the doubts they want, but the conference board is a highly respected and very credible organization."

The conference board is a not-for-profit, applied research organization based in Ottawa that examines economic trends, public policy issues and organizational performance. Members include a broad range of Canadian organizations from the public and private sectors.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: healthcare; socializedmedicine

1 posted on 03/10/2004 10:32:52 AM PST by Pikamax
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To: Pikamax
But their system is so superior to ours! ; )

CG
2 posted on 03/10/2004 10:34:37 AM PST by Conspiracy Guy (Of course I'm armed. Isn't everyone?)
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To: Pikamax
Predictions - a lot more Canadians coming to America to pay for the health care they could not get for free...
3 posted on 03/10/2004 10:38:20 AM PST by 2banana
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To: 2banana
already happening...hospitals in Detroit and Buffalo are stuffed with Canadians who cannot bear an 18-month wait for some procedure.
4 posted on 03/10/2004 10:40:40 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Pikamax
It's amazing how myopic liberals are when it comes to this type of system. Socialized medicine in Britain and Canada is proving to be a costly, dismal, and sometimes life-threatening failure, but these demented pinkos in the US absolutely refuse to accept the facts as they are. Which is one more reason that we need to stamp out their ideology once and for all.
5 posted on 03/10/2004 10:47:17 AM PST by Viking2002 (I think; therefore, I Freep............)
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To: Pikamax
They didn't need a "think-tank" to come to that conclusion..!!!

Geesh, how do I get one of them there "Think-Tank" jobs?

FWIW-

6 posted on 03/10/2004 10:49:10 AM PST by Osage Orange (Political Correctness is Intellectual Fascism................)
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To: Viking2002
The liberals are sure that socialism only fails because it's done wrong. They are sure THEY can do it right.

Makes me puke.

CG
7 posted on 03/10/2004 10:49:24 AM PST by Conspiracy Guy (Of course I'm armed. Isn't everyone?)
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To: Conspiracy Guy
But their system is so superior to ours! ; )

Unless of course you get sick.

8 posted on 03/10/2004 10:54:38 AM PST by Protagoras (When they asked me what I thought of freedom in America,,, I said I thought it would be a good idea.)
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To: Conspiracy Guy
Amen, brother. Some days, I have to keep a supply of airsick bags on hand, just to surf a few news sites.
9 posted on 03/10/2004 10:55:42 AM PST by Viking2002 (I think; therefore, I Freep............)
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To: Pikamax
"But it adds the system is an important economic engine, employing 1.5 million skilled and educated people, or 10 per cent of the employed work force.

Aha! Maybe if they made 100% of the employed work force health care employees, they could get rich taking care of each other!
10 posted on 03/10/2004 10:56:25 AM PST by proxy_user
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To: Pikamax
Alan Greenspan make a trip up North?
11 posted on 03/10/2004 10:56:31 AM PST by Wolfie
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To: Pikamax
gotta love socialism
12 posted on 03/10/2004 10:57:02 AM PST by petercooper (Florida 2000: Bush 2,912,790 - Gore 2,912,253)
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To: Protagoras
True. Sick people really foul up the health care system.

CG
13 posted on 03/10/2004 11:01:06 AM PST by Conspiracy Guy (Of course I'm armed. Isn't everyone?)
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To: Viking2002
I keep clear plastic over my monitor and keyboard. Makes clean up a snap.

CG
14 posted on 03/10/2004 11:02:22 AM PST by Conspiracy Guy (Of course I'm armed. Isn't everyone?)
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To: 2banana
Another prediction.....Canada's own baby-boomers will completely crash their health care system, within ten years!
15 posted on 03/10/2004 11:06:50 AM PST by spoiler2
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To: Pikamax
I can tell you from growing up in Canada that the system is really abused...People get so used to going into the emergency room with the sniffles it becomes second nature and it has been going on for decades...it was a real shocker for my wife to find out that we have a copay for going to the ER down here in WA...It opened her eyes to the background costs...

My mother-inlaw and sister-inlaw really over use it too, They are up in Alberta, any time my neice or nephew get sick it's off to the ER..I tell them to stop doing it because the DR is just gonna get mad at them and tell them to take the kids to the regular DR...then they phone us up and complain that the DR is mean to them...

boohoo frickety hoo...

I hate it up there and don't want to go back, If I'm gonna be paying for someone elses medical then they may as well move in with my family...at least that way I feel like I'm not totally being ripped off with taxes..

16 posted on 03/10/2004 11:10:54 AM PST by MD_Willington_1976
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To: MD_Willington_1976
Yeah and the cost there is $121 billion. Let's see they're about 10% in population size to us and I would say they have 35% fewer services so if we followed their model that would make it roughly hmmmm $1,7 trillion per year. now let's add that to our current $2.1 trillion budget and we're at $3.8 trillion per year. And that we'll be frugal and take out let's say $500 billion that's not going to have to be paid twice and that get's us to a paltry $3.3 trillion budget.

Hey the dems are right they sure know how to reduce deficits!

17 posted on 03/10/2004 11:25:15 AM PST by marlon
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To: marlon
Yeah it sucks...I mean if you dont mind shelling out more than 50% of your income in taxes then hey go for it, I personally find paying taxes in the USA to be less painfull then back in Canada...

But just think of all the woderfull social programs that you can participate in...[/BARF
18 posted on 03/10/2004 11:33:51 AM PST by MD_Willington_1976
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To: Buckeye McFrog
There but for the grace of God go us. Of course a little thing called a filibuster of Hillarycare by the Republicans didn't hurt matters either.

Who said there's not a dimes worth of difference?
19 posted on 03/10/2004 11:58:19 AM PST by gooleyman (You'll NEVER agree with ANYONE about EVERYTHING. You'll NEVER agree with a DemocRAT about ANYTHING)
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To: Pikamax
"You can have your socialist utopia, but only briefly."

- Mark Steyn, Canadian warrior poet.

20 posted on 03/10/2004 12:22:22 PM PST by rudypoot
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To: Pikamax
just as the demographic bulge of Canadian seniors start to pass through the systems

I suggest gentle, fast acting Philipp's Milk of Magnesia.
21 posted on 03/10/2004 12:29:16 PM PST by G L Tirebiter
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To: proxy_user
Great point. I nearly fell over myself when I saw that statement in this article. As if, should the government health-care system go down tomorrow, all these people would be permanently unemployed and/or have to switch careers!

Heaven forbid a commercial entity actually try and succeed in an industry with basically a never-ending customer supply. Why, they may actually want to turn a profit (gasp)!

22 posted on 03/10/2004 12:37:40 PM PST by safeasthebanks
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