Who benefits from corporate health care? Not Canadians
There’s big money to be made in health care, but Canadians will be the losers if corporatization and profit erode our universal, public system.
Economist Armine Yalnizyan and Canadian Health Coalition board member Pat Armstrong (professor emeritus, York University) say Canada’s universal, publicly-funded health care system is threatened by for-profit delivery of care and new ownership of those profits.
In a recent Toronto Star opinion piece, Yalnizyan and Armstrong said venture capital, private equity and foreign direct investment are exploding in the field of health care.
“Why? They offer rock-steady returns and growth, paid by taxpayers, for the next few decades due to population aging. The Canada Health Act does not protect us from this.”
The authors stress that the Canada Health Act is founded on strong principles and stipulates that no extra fees be charged for medically-necessary care provided by doctors and hospitals.
“But the act doesn’t cover publicly-funded services beyond doctors and hospitals,” say Armstrong and Yalnizyan. They note that ambulatory health care, home care, long-term care, temporary agencies and virtual care have been taken up by private-sector, corporate interests.
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“We are told to welcome, not fear, more for-profit care; that more care, from any source, is the cure for what ails us. This claim is neither new or true. Decades of evidence, from Canada and abroad, shows this approach wastes money and provides inferior care.”
The authors reject corporate control using taxpayer dollars.
“Innovate within the public sector, with specialized clinics and virtual care,” they say. “Provide health care workers better pay and more control over their schedules.”
Armstrong and Yalnizyan say the corporatization of health care must be stopped. “Those responsible for our care must do everything possible to stop it from spreading.”