Canadian Doctors for Medicare

Canadian Doctors for Medicare

August 22, 2011 10:41 ET

CMA Blue Ribbon Report a Step Backwards

Despite Promising Start, CMA Panel Stumbles

ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND and LABRADOR--(Marketwire - Aug. 22, 2011) - In a document riddled with old ideas and bad data, the CMA's "Blue Ribbon" Panel released its recommendations today, using tired arguments that contradict the CMA's health care transformation principles and the input they heard from Canadians.

"It's baffling that the panel could support user fees and other private funding. They are in direct contradiction to the CMA's stated principles, they ignore the best evidence about what makes good health care, and they reject the clear preference of Canadians for a public system," said Dr. Bob Woollard, a board member of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. "We trust the CMA will stick to its principles, and the evidence, and ignore those recommendations that contradict the values of Canadians."

The panel suggested opening discussion on user fees to fund health care, and introducing provider competition, which would include private sector participation. User fees compromise the accessibility of health care, granting access based on ability to pay rather than need.

And promoting competition fragments the health care system into competing parallel systems, undermining overall efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Competition could also open the door to more private, for-profit care. Evidence shows that private, for-profit care produces worse patient outcomes, costs taxpayers more money, and cherry-picks the healthiest, wealthiest patients.

"We agree that the unregulated and unmanaged areas of health care are a problem, but competition will just increase this problem, and compromise the principles of sustainability, accountability, and equity," said Woollard. "We need to coordinate and integrate our health care system in order to be more cost-effective and to provide seamless service for our patients."

CDM is also concerned about the inclusion of activity-based funding in the report's recommendations, a strategy that could compromise the CMA principle of sustainability.

"There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that activity-based funding can work as a broad-based strategy. In fact, activity-based funding was disastrous in the UK, nearly bankrupting the National Health Service," said Woollard. "We strongly encourage the CMA to reject this recommendation."

Read "The Problem with Profit-Driven Health Care" at

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