One professor says it’s time to re-evaluate the public health care system in Saskatchewan

Health Care in Canada is something everyone pays for. Regardless of your trips to the doctor, every resident who pays taxes contributes to the health-care system, and as a result health care is ‘free’ when you need it.

One public policy professor believes it is time for a debate on health-care delivery, even though the data shows clear benefits to Canada’s publicly delivered system.

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According to data from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, between 2014 and 2015, 10 per cent of Saskatchewan health-care spending went towards the care of less than one per cent of the province’s population.

“We’re all interested in health care and health-care spending these days and this gives an interesting perspective,” said Ron Kneebone, a professor at the University of Calgary of Public Policy.

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Kneebone says this tilted dispersal of health-care spending highlights the costs that would be placed on some residents without Medicare.

“One person in that year, received treatment that cost a total of $822,000,” Kneebone explained.

The study also shows how taxpayer-funded health care benefits Canadians when it comes to protecting their wallets.

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“It’s a good system, in the sense that we all pay into kind of an insurance system that makes sure that we’re not destroyed by these catastrophic costs should our health fail us,” Kneebone said.

But with long wait times for emergency services, surgeries and specialist treatments out of the pandemic, Kneebone thinks now is an important time to have a debate in Canada about alternative systems for health care delivery.

“The rest of the world does things differently than Canada, they tend to have more private provision of health care than we have in Canada, and they tend to have better outcomes as well,” Kneebone said.

The government of Saskatchewan has previously announced plans to fund some private joint replacement surgeries.

But for now, private delivery of services covered by universal health care isn’t accessible to Canadians.

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“That’s something that we need to be able to talk about honestly and frankly to one another, and not be afraid of trying something different from what we’ve been doing lately.”

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