Questions About Booking a
LAVIN Keynote Speaker?
1 800 265 4870
The Lavin Blog
Jeffrey Simpson: Medicare Is In Trouble. Is Privatization The Answer?
Health | May 30, 2013

Jeffrey Simpson: Medicare Is In Trouble. Is Privatization The Answer?

In Jeffrey Simpson's Donner Prize-winning book Chronic Condition, he explains that the supply side of health care could benefit from creating competition between private buyers. The health speaker recently appeared on CBC Radio's The Sunday Edition to discuss the idea of privatization in health care and the future of medicare. In the interview, he explains that there is a supply and demand problem in medicare—and that privatization could help even out the imbalance between the two. "We've got lots of unmet demand over here (witness to which are waiting times) and we've got lots of unused supply [numerous operating rooms that are closed due to budgetary concerns]—how do you fix this?"  Simpson asks. "If you can't use a price system to determine who's going to get in, or when, or how you're going to use your services, then you have a problem."

Many people cringe at the use of the "P Words" (private, profit) in regards to health care. However, as a Financial Post article on the issue points out—and Simpson reiterates—many doctors have been private suppliers since Medicare first began. In fact, he explains that the vast number of single practitioners in Canada negotiate deals with the state on a fee-per-service basis all the time. The problem, however, is that a group of practitioners operating in the same manner causes controversy. As soon as we hear the words "profit" or "privatization," most people worry that it's a slippery slope towards the adoption of two-tiered American-style health care. However, as the Post points out: "Jeffrey Simpson and many other would-be reformers are not saying the demand-side should be privatized, too. In their model, the state still pays for people’s health care. Poor people’s demands are backed up by tax dollars." In essence, the state would look for the provider who can deliver them the best price-quality ratio services, and then they would monitor the adminstration of those services.

"My view," Simpson adds, "is that if a group of private practitioners can deliver services with the same quality, at the lower cost, and better access, this is better for patients." He proposes a solution where the government contracts private providers to build, maintain, and run the facilities we will need to improve our system, with the state providing the money to pay for them and the oversight to regulate them. Increasing competition between private providers could be a viable solution, Simpson says, to deal with demand problems without raising taxes to pay for them. In his books and his talks, Simpson delves into big ideas on how to improve the nation's health care system. Winner of the Governor General's Award, Simpson is a trusted voice on domestic and international issues and has been a columnist at the Globe and Mail for over 20 years. He proposes sweeping—but achievable—reforms that will bring our spending in line with our results to make our health care as top-notch as it has the potential to be.
Questions About Booking
Jeffrey Simpson?
Give Us a Call
 Jeffrey  Simpson , keynote speaker Read More About Jeffrey Simpson
Sign up for our e-newsletter * Required
First Name *
Last Name *
Email *
I'm Interested In *