The struggle for finding a good healthcare and primary care system is one being experienced throughout the North American continent. While Canadians discuss possible changes to nationalized healthcare, the United States is struggling with the idea of adopting its Affordable Care Act.
One potential solution which has not received much notoriety yet, is the steadily increasing support for privatized care measures in which patients simply pay out of pocket for quality care. While many have yet to hear of this option, others remain skeptical about how it works in the real world.
Public vs. Private
Despite the current system which seems “antiquated and unsustainable,” according to the Concierge Medicine Journal, some maintain that a strong public system is still the best alternative. Dr. Vanessa Brcic, a member of the Canadian Doctors for Medicare, defends this position saying that “The problem that we have right now is the current system is very focused on the hospital, and our population is changing over the years. Population growth is the first thing, the population aging is the second thing, and we’ve got people living longer with more chronic diseases.” Brcic advocates for better home care for elderly patients as well as efforts to streamline services to maximize efficiency.
On the other hand, some professionals disagree with the idea of rebooting existing public care. Instead, argue people like Dr. Brian Day, Canadians should seek out privatized healthcare to “fill that gap.” The founder of Cambie Surgery Centre in Vancouver, Day sees direct primary care as a possible answer to funding cuts and limited operating rooms. When Day opened his surgery clinic, he remembers, “I had 450 patients waiting on my public waiting list to get into hospital. That’s completely unacceptable.”
What the Medicare Protection Act Has to Say
One major obstacle to pursuing private care is B.C.’s Medicare Protection Act (MPA) which only allows certain classes of citizens, such as Worker’s Compensation claimants, RCMP and military personnel, to legally use private healthcare.
As a result, the national government filed an injunction against Dr. Brian Day’s surgery in 2012 after the Cambie Surgery Centre failed to stop “extra billing” for services that were technically covered under the MPA. Thus it was effectively illegal for citizens to seek necessary medical treatment and comprehensive primary care that wouldn’t place them on long waiting lists.
find out how direct primary care works in the US.