Ontario Premier Doug Ford saying he’s prepared to accept federal conditions for health care funding and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau describing Ford’s proposed reforms as “innovation” could be the first step in actually improving health care for Canadians.
Ford’s offer, which appears to represent the growing view of Canada’s premiers and territorial leaders, and Trudeau’s refusal to take a cheap shot at Ford’s proposed reforms as leading to two-tier, profit-driven, American-style health care is a mutually risky truce.
It could fall apart at any moment given the nature of partisan politics.
But that doesn’t change the fact both Ford’s and Trudeau’s positions, the latter expressed by the PM in an interview with the Toronto Star, are reasonable.
It’s reasonable that in a health care system where our governments were gathering and reporting data about the COVID-19 pandemic by fax, Trudeau wants improved data collection attached to increased federal funding for health care.
Without reliable data to determine what is and isn’t working in health care, government funding will continue to be done on the basis of the same broken template that exists today.
That will mean continuing to send billions of taxpayer dollars annually into a system where the money isn’t tied to effectiveness and results.
Similarly, it’s reasonable that the provinces want the ability to innovate along the lines other comparable countries to our own with universal universal health care systems have already done, leading to more successful health care outcomes.
International studies have repeatedly shown Canada’s health care system is expensive and in too many cases produces mediocre outcomes, with unacceptably long medical wait times and shortages of medical staff and equipment.
These studies exclude the United States, which doesn’t have universal health care, negating the often hysterical arguments by defenders of the broken status quo in Canadian medicare that any reform will lead to two-tier, for-profit medicine.
In the real world, government funding of medical services, regardless of whether they are provided by public, non-profit or private sector facilities, does not violate the principles of Canadian medicare, as long as patients are not being asked to pay for medically necessary care.
It’s time to fix Canadian healthcare, not just complain about it.