If people wish to pay for private healthcare in Canada, they should be permitted to. I believe that because I support democracy, freedom of rights and a free market society.  

Private Healthcare Already Here

I also support socialized healthcare. I believe that healthcare should be accessible to all Canadians and that someone with an emergency condition can be treated at no cost in a timely manner. When “timely” isn’t timely enough for an individual, that individual should have the right to pay for faster treatment.

When socialized systems aren’t functioning properly; when they’re overburdened; when patients don’t feel they’re getting a fair shake, the right advice or treatment; when one hears of a new breakthrough and successful treatment that is currently not available in the public system, why shouldn’t they be able to pay to access it privately?

Private healthcare is nothing new in Canada. It’s been here for decades in the form of dentistry, physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractic, optometry and so many other, but still necessary therapies.

More robust healthcare services have been operating for years in the form of companies like Medcan and Medisys in Ontario – originally set up for companies to enroll their executives but also fully available to the paying public.

In Quebec, there are Telus Healthcare Centres offering both public and private options and in Alberta, Provital, Healthpointe and others. The fact is that private care facilities are available across the Canadian map, and you don’t have to search too hard to find them, especially in the larger urban centers.

Finding Solutions In Unprecedented Times

So why the big fuss? Why the seeming hypocrisy? Do we really fear that all the good doctors and nurses are going to gravitate to the lure of big bucks in the private sector if it fully opens up? Then let’s top up the pay for our overworked doctors and nurses. Let’s introduce user fees or co-pay where Canadians contribute $5.00 per visit to their doctor.  

We live in unprecedented times when it comes to innovation, technology and advancement in every sector imaginable. The sheer volume of innovation in medicine and healthcare alone is unbelievable (though I still don’t understand why they haven’t nailed hair loss!).

To tell someone that they can’t take advantage of a new breakthrough product or treatment because “it’s not covered by provincial medicare,” is an archaic concept not conducive to advancement or even sustainability as a progressive first world country. It’s not surprising that a publicly-funded healthcare system can’t avail itself of the latest and greatest. 

Governments should have a responsibility to ensure a reasonably progressive delivery of services for the masses. And for those who desire something beyond that offering, they should have the right to access that option by paying for it. Between April 2021 and March 2022, 1,417 Ontarians died waiting for delayed surgeries.  During that same period nearly 7,500 more died waiting for MRIs and CT scans. Simply by allowing access to MRIs and CT scans in the private sector for those willing to pay, we would immediately reduce waiting times in the public system for those who need them sooner.

We’re not going to just solve the current healthcare crisis with the snap of our fingers. It’s a multi-faceted issue with many contributing factors. Not unlike businesses still running too many manually controlled processes, public healthcare must also be re-engineered to ensure that things get done efficiently to serve the public in a responsible manner.

Regardless, the ability to access private healthcare in Canada for those who wish to pursue it, should be a constitutional right in a free, democratic society.

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