In Switzerland, the way the health care system is organized has evolved in the opposite direction of Canada's, where the trend has rather been toward ever more centralized regulation and public financing. When all is said and done, the Swiss experience shows once again that the private sector can contribute constructively and efficiently to the provision of services within a public health care system without threatening the goals of fair and universal access to care.
When it comes to health care, we can clearly see that a cost-cutting approach only works for a while. Given the giant demographic shift underway now, we aren't going to save our way to great health care. Put simply, innovation is not a choice. Improving Canadian competitiveness demands it. Canadians in need of a more sustainable and effective health care system deserve it.
As noted in a recent report by the Canadian Medical Association, Canadians are demanding health system reform now more than they ever have before--and seem to be coalescing around a "moral imperative" to create a system that will be sustainable for years to come. There is little agreement on how best to move forward, especially when it comes to the thorny issue of funding.
The action that is currently being considered by the Conservative government is to extend the patent protection on brand-name drugs. The fact that the government would impose higher costs on Canadians, particularly for something as essential as medication, would be nonsensical even if the cost of medication were affordable.
Hip and knee replacements constitute a billion dollar industry. But why is it that we don't monitor the quality of our goods the same way the automotive industry does? Canada needs to adopt a series of measures to maintain records, and improve not only product quality, but customer satisfaction as well.