I follow part of the debate when it hits the Canadian Press. However, I feel that I get a very biased opinion of what is going on. I think, personally that our system is not perfect and in many cases, very much abused. If these abuses are cleaned up, I would much prefer our system over the U.S. I have experienced both systems, namely the abuse in the Canadian versus the very efficient U.S. Our major abuse is the apparent inability of the GP to make a decision without consulting an expert specialist. This leads to the GP referring to the specialist who referrs to the next specialist who refers to the originator. In each case, money (Government type) changes hands. In the case of the wife, we went around the circle at least three times before a doctor who specialized in cutting through red tape suggested we go to Duluth. We did, and for a cost of $400 US we saw 8 doctors, received a treatment plan and the lead doctor phoned us in Canada to see how things were going (at no cost). Problem solved! Our side missed a very obvious diagnosis that I would expect almost any doctor to be able to make.
It is said that a person shouldn't criticise without offering a solution. So, here goes...
1. Look at the liability insurance for doctors. In Canada the cost is exorbitant, leaving the medical profession feeling vulnerable to legal action.
2. This goes against the grain, but put a minimal cash charge to users to discourage people from bringing the "sniffles" to a medical office. Some proof of "hardship" or proven need might be required to help out those single moms/dads or destitute folks that are truly in need to allow a waiver of the token fee. I do believe in a universal health system, but not a blank check.
3. Some sort of accountability for the doctors. IE a scorecard on how efficient they are and also how effective they are at diagnosis and treatment. How this could actually work would really need some thought. I know that when I was in the Pulp and Paper Industry, as a Technical director, I would be gone if I couldn't meet goals/targets and get results.
4. A method of whistle blowing to handle those severe cases of abuse.
I could go on, but maybe this is a possible expanded blog article with a little more thought put into it.
Which system is perfect? At the moment neither. I still prefer ours, but with major reservations.