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1 September 2000September 1, 2000

Universal Private Choice: A Concept of Health Care With Quality, Access and Choice For All Canadians

Research Paper on health care financing in Canada

Universal Private Choice: A Concept of Health Care With Quality, Access and Choice For All Canadians

We are proposing a new approach to the financing, insuring and delivery of medical and hospital services. While retaining universal entitlement to Medicare insurance, as a core publicly funded service, we propose a new concept of universal private choice. This includes Medicare, as well as voluntary private medical, hospital and health insurance alternatives, as exist in all other OECD countries. Our aim is to improve quality, access and choice for all Canadians.

A government health system monopoly does not necessarily cost less than a mixed public-private health system, nor does it provide faster access to services. On the contrary, among 25 OECD countries with universal access, some like Sweden, with a universal public system alongside a parallel private one, actually spend less than Canada, with better access to medical services.

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Jacques Chaoulli was born in France in 1952. After obtaining his medical doctorate from Université de Paris VII, he immigrated to Quebec in 1978 and undertook research in medical education at Laval University’s faculty of medicine. He received a master’s degree in education from Laval University in 1982. He has practiced medicine in Quebec since 1986. As a first-hand observer of the difficulties of access to health services, he began, in 1996, to make a particular examination of these problems, notably by analyzing the health systems of countries comparable to Canada. Since 1997, he has studied the legal frameworks governing health-care systems in Quebec and Canada.

Dr J. Edwin Coffey, after a busy career in Gynecology and Obstetrics at the Montreal General and Royal Victoria Hospitals in Montreal, and as Associate Professor at McGill’s Faculty of Medicine, has recently exchanged his scalpel for the pen. A graduate in Arts from Mount Allison and in Medicine from McGill, he took his speciality training at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He has had a longstanding interest in political, economic and legal philosophy and has been an influential leader in the councils of Quebec and Canadian Medicine. He is a former President of the Quebec Medical Association and has served on the Board of the Canadian Medical Association and its Working Group on Health Care Financing in Canada.

We are proposing a new approach to the financing, insuring and delivery of medical and hospital services. While retaining universal entitlement to Medicare insurance, as a core publicly funded service, we propose a new concept of universal private choice. This includes Medicare, as well as voluntary private medical, hospital and health insurance alternatives, as exist in all other OECD countries. Our aim is to improve quality, access and choice for all Canadians.

A government health system monopoly does not necessarily cost less than a mixed public-private health system, nor does it provide faster access to services. On the contrary, among 25 OECD countries with universal access, some like Sweden, with a universal public system alongside a parallel private one, actually spend less than Canada, with better access to medical services.


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