Health Care

I don't normally talk about political stuff but this is something that keeps going around in Canada and I wanted to mention it.

Canada has federally provided health care, and has laws that prohibit
anyone from providing for-profit health care.  This system
guarantees that we're all treated the same.

"Two Tier" (American style) health care is generally regarded as evil
in Canada, and is something we pretty much agree that we don't want
(although not everyone).

However, there are cases where private companies can provide health
care, and that health care is paid for by the government.  The
government sets an amount that they'll pay for a particular unit of
healthcare (ie, putting a cast on a broken leg costs $$) and if a
private company can provide it, then they are allowed to.

This is very different than the American two-tier health care system,
because we still all get the same care - but you get to choose who you
get it from.  For a real emergency you go to the local hospital,
but if you've got a sore knee you can go to a private clinic and get
looked after.

In Ottawa, and probably elsewhere, there's a chain called Appletree
that runs private clinics, and as far as I'm concerned, they work
great.  They have a website where they keep real-time updates of
the waiting times at their various locations around Ottawa, and if
there's something I want to get checked out, I can be talking to a
doctor in an hour or so.  Compared to the wait time of making an
appointment with a typical family doctor, that's excellent.

So what's the problem with publically funded private healthcare? 
I believe the detractors think that it will cause a lower standard of
healthcare to be provided, since they assume the private company will
be cutting corners and delivering inferior care, and that the
government run facilities can do the same job for the same money.

But that's not how it works.  When you have two clinics competing
for business, and the payment they're going to receive is fixed (they
both get the same $$ from the government for the same service), they're
going to be competing on who can deliver better healthcare for that
$$.  There are standards, obviously, that a clinic must live up to
to be allowed to perform medicine, and if they don't meet those
standards, they should be (and will be) shut down.  But beyond
that, if a clinic delivers poor service, people will stop going there
and they will not stay in business. 

That's the kind of system I want - let the free market give us the best
clinics it can, and don't charge us for using them.  Applying the
term 'two-tier' to this system is an attempt to generate a negative
knee-jerk response.  Hopefully people will look a little deeper.