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Home Policy Articles: Health Care: Wait Times


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Will We Rise to the Challenge? Eight Mega Issues Facing Canada popular

This briefing tracks eight key trends that are having a major impact on Canada’s business and public policy environment. Charles Barrett and Anne Golden point to the global economy and the consequences of competition from developing countries. They examine Canada’s relationship with the United States and the competing priorities of defence and trade. They also look at the need for investment in human capital and innovation for Canada to compete on the global stage, as well as the importance of addressing climate change and environmental issues.

Access Delayed, Access Denied. Waiting for Medicines in Canada

Brett Skinner, Mark Rovere, and Courtney Glen analyze the time that patients must wait between the discovery of a new drug and its availability to Canadian consumers.

Comprehensiveness in Public Health Care: An Impediment To Effective Restructuring

This article by Claude Forget argues that the debate over public health care in Canada has been “mired in semantics and wishful thinking.” In this context, Forget contends that certain words (found in the Canada Health Act) have acquired the status of principles when, in his view, they should not be considered as such.

Health Care Waiting List Initiatives in Sweden

This article, by Ragnar Lofgren and Michael Walker, analyzes four different public policy approaches attempted by the Swedish government between 1987 and 1997, aimed at curbing waiting lists for health services. The reforms, which varied from offering overtime pay for supplemental operations to maximum waiting time guarantees, also had to consider the impact of a rapidly aging population (a population comparatively older than Canada’s). Though the authors point out that the reforms were not a complete success, they also note that waiting lists in Stockholm and Vancouver had achieved parity – a development the authors consider to be a success, particularly given that Stockholm’s average population is considerably older than Vancouver’s. Accordingly, Lofgren and Walker suggest that Canada can look to the Swedish experience to avoid some of the pitfalls faced over the reform period.

Medicare as a Moral Enterprise: The Romanow and Kirby Perspectives

In this paper Thomas Courchene compares and contrasts the values (or operating principles) that underpin the Romanow and Kirby health care reports. He first identifies these values in each report, and then analyzes how they are similar, how they differ, and which report ultimately offers the best solution to building a sustainable health care system for Canada.

Moving from Debate to Action: Securing the Future for Canada’s Health System

Canadians have reached consensus on the necessity of fixing Canada’s health system and, accordingly, want to see immediate action. How, then, to move forward on substantive reform? To answer this question the Public Policy Forum convened a two-day conference with over 100 representatives from a host of health-related industries and research bodies. Instead of returning to previous discussions and proposals on health system reform, the conference was tasked with deciding what can be done now to move the issue forward and to come to a broad consensus on an overall plan.

Public Remedies, Not Private Payments: Quality Health Care in Alberta

According to Tammy Horne and Susan Abells, the Alberta government has instilled in Albertans the notion that the province’s public health system is on the brink of fiscal collapse.

Public Solutions to Health Care Wait Lists

In this paper Dr. Michael Rachlis discusses the need to improve the Canadian health care system in order to decrease wait times.

Risk, Progressive Licensing and the Health Benefits Lost by Over-Regulating New Drugs

Brett Skinner argues that government regulation of new drugs stifles market access and causes considerable loss to Canadian patients. He disputes the overly simplistic rationale that the market fails to protect consumers from dangerous drugs due to asymmetrical power relations between producers and consumers.

Turning to the private sector in health care: The Swedish example

In this Economic Note the authors present Sweden as an example of how Canada can use market mechanisms to increase the efficiency of Canada’s ailing health care system.

Waiting Your Turn: Hospital Waiting Lists in Canada (12th Edition)

This article by Nadeem Esmail and Michael Walker contains several graphs and data tables analyzing the current state of hospital waiting lists in Canada. The authors underscore that although data is more easily available than in the past, the data that is provided by the federal and provincial governments is still largely incomplete. By comparing government data with that of other sources they have gathered, the authors believe they generate the only available comprehensive evaluation of the state of waiting lists in Canada.

Waiting Your Turn: Hospital Waiting Lists in Canada (13th Edition)

This article documents the extent to which waitlists for medical specialists, and for diagnostic and surgical procedures, are being used to control health care expenses. The authors, Nadeem Esmail and Michael Walker, argue that measuring waiting times is crucial because it contributes to a better understanding of how the health care system works, and where its problems lie. The Fraser Institute has been measuring waiting times since 1988; this edition of the survey finds that waiting times for surgical and other therapeutic treatments grew in 2003.

Why Wait? Public Solutions to Cure Surgical Waitlists

Alicia Priest, Michael Rachlis, and Marcy Cohen highlight the success of new public management initiatives in reducing wait times in British Columbia.