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What Canadians think about their health care system

As part of its annual Focus Canada national public opinion survey, the Environics Institute asked Canadians about the state of their health care system and support for financing reforms to make it more affordable over the longterm, updating trends going back a decade. This latest survey is based on telephone interviews conducted with 1,500 Canadians between November 15 and December 5, 2012. A sample of this size drawn from the population produces results accurate to within plus or minus 2.5 percentage points in 19 out of 20 samples.

Some Highlights:

– Support for private health care options continues to be most popular in Quebec (66%) where this view has strengthened over the past two years (as it has in Atlantic Canada), while Ontario (46%) and Alberta (48%) stand out as the two provinces with the lowest public support for buying private health care.

– Over the past decade, the balance of opinion has shifted clearly to focus on inefficient management over insufficient funding. Since 2010, these opinions have changed little at the national level, but there have been notable shifts across regions. A focus on inefficient management has increased steadily in Quebec since 2007 (rising from 49% to 80%). Elsewhere in the country, opinions on this question are more divided (30% insufficient funding versus 56% inefficient management), and the emphasis on management problems actually declined since 2010, most noticeably in B.C.and Saskatchewan (both to 53%, down 14 points).

– Quebecers are more likely than other Canadians to endorse these types of reforms [1-Paying out-of-pocket for faster service, 2-Paying a small user fee for every visit, 3- Paying extra for use beyond allotted amount of care, 4- Cutting back on covered services, 5-Raising taxes], with the notable exception of higher taxes where Quebecers’ support has plummeted 25 points since 2007 (to 23%). Elsewhere, public support for higher taxes for health care have held steady (and rising in B.C.).

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