Would it be too much to ask for us to have a real debate about health care in the Ontario election campaign? Unfortunately, in Canadian politics, the only acceptable discussion is about how much money to spend. Any talk of innovation is quickly shot down with rhetoric and hyperbole.
Health care is a religion in our country. We’re so proud of our system we willfully ignore how weakly it stacks up against those in other countries. We’re so determined to distinguish ourselves from the United States that we won’t allow any talk of a private-sector role in our health care, even though countries like the United Kingdom have public-private systems that perform much better than ours. And we pretend that health care in Canada is all provided by the government, even though there are plenty of private companies playing a role, from diagnostic services to family practitioners, who are effectively small business owners.
There are many ways we can improve our health care system and include the private sector without anyone having to pay directly for services. Let’s set the rhetoric aside and have a meaningful discussion about how we can improve a system that is not giving us good value for money.