The taboo of private health is a myth

Every election, including this one, the polls confirm that. For the vast majority of Quebecers, the number one issue is health. Two reasons explain this.

1) Our population is aging faster than elsewhere in the country. 2) Long before the pandemic, due to repeated cuts since the 1990s and ill-conceived reforms, our healthcare system was already cracking everywhere.

Nearly 20% of Quebecers are even still waiting for the miracle of being taken care of by a family doctor or a Family Medicine Group (FMG). And to see a specialist? Might as well take out the rosary.

In short, it’s the perfect storm. In view of the October 3 election, the CAQ of François Legault and the Conservative Party of Quebec (PCQ) of Éric Duhaime therefore propose “more private health”.

The CAQ, whose victory is assured, proposes among other things to allow the construction of private mini-hospitals – a precedent – ​​whose costs for patients would be covered by health insurance.

Struggling with a broken health and social services network, including third-world-looking emergencies, it is not surprising that the sirens of the private sector are so attractive. What if it was just a mirage?

Far from being a taboo in Quebec, the fact is that private health spending, paid directly by patients or their private insurance, already accounts for 20 to 25% of total health spending. It’s a lot.

be royally mistaken

Éric Duhaime is therefore royally mistaken when he speaks of the “p-word” for “private”, as if it were a taboo that should be broken. In Quebec, the so-called taboo of private healthcare is a myth.

So why want “more”? Because this desire is above all the brutal reflection of the continuous weakening of the public health and social services network.

For more than 30 years, our governments, red or blue, have indeed opted for a growing offloading of care and social services to the private sector.

This “private” comes in the form of entrepreneurs and businesses which, in fact, are 100% subsidized by public funds: doctors, FMGs, private CHSLDs, intermediate accommodation resources for seniors or people with disabilities, etc. .

The emergency rooms are still overflowing

This same long-standing private-public “partnership” has not, however, prevented emergencies from chronically overflowing. It has not solved the glaring shortage of home care or long term care.

Access window or not, it has also failed to strengthen the famous “front line”, which Quebecers have been hoping for for decades. Etc.

However, we continue to say that the subsidized private sector lightens the burden on the public. That it is even “complementary” to it.

However, in Quebec – since it is impossible to clone doctors, nurses and orderlies – the private sector is increasingly vampirizing the public by attracting some of its exhausted personnel.

The public, more and more deprived, is therefore increasingly turning to purchasing services from the private sector to compensate for its own shortcomings. Which, in turn, allows the private sector to continue to expand.

While the public atrophies in favor of the subsidized private and the private-private, this same “formula” has still not delivered the expected results. This is called a vicious circle.

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