Drummond and For-Profit Health Care

Considering the 1,500 dollars a day Don Drummond was paid and the research staff at his disposal you would figure that his analysis would be more subtle and better informed.

It is not news that Don Drummond supports for-profit health care but his rationale is shockingly simplistic. The following is the key paragraph from his report supporting more private health care:

There should not be an a priori or ideological bias towards public- or private-sector service delivery. Both options should be fully tested to see which provides the best service. This should not be defined simply with respect to cost, but be quality-adjusted. As long as government remains the payer for all covered services, it should allow for a role to be played by both the public and private sectors. After all, family physicians are for the most part private-sector operators paid by OHIP for their services. And we seem to have no trouble with the idea that private companies now provide publicly funded laboratory work for health care providers. This should be extended where it is the superior model.

Mike Harris in 1999 also uses the private labs as an example of how well “the private sector has been delivering medical laboratory service for years more efficiently and effectively than hospitals.”

We should certainly be examining for-profit laboratory services, it is the largest and longest standing example of private delivery of an essential medical service, but unfortunately for Drummond and Harris any close examination shows that using private labs is an inferior model.

The residents in Thessalon, Wallaceburg, Perth, Bracebridge, and dozens of other smaller towns in Ontario would tell Drummond they are not happy with the switch to the private labs.

Similarly, many big city patients have been inconvenienced by the loss of access to their local hospital,

Many doctors report longer turnaround times with increased private delivery.

And there is the increased cost.  It is a reasonable estimate that Ontario health care system could save 175 to 200 million dollars per year by integrating community and hospital laboratory services with hospital laboratories at the center of the system.

Drummond’s other example of good for-profit health care is as misleading.  To glibly equate independent family physicians with corporate health care, like the AIM Health Group owned by the venture capital corporation, Imperial Capital Group, or diagnostic multinational CML, shows that Drummond knows more about ideological correctness than health care or economics.  Sorry Don, the overview of health care in your report would not have passed as a fourth year policy paper.

Explore posts in the same categories: Ontario Government Policy

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