Following on this post from last week regarding the Veterans Administration as a model for a government-sponsored health care finance system, this NY Times article reports that the Canadian government-administered health care finance system — which has been widely-heralded as a model for a similar U.S. system — is showing signs of imploding as a result of a recent Canadian Supreme Court decision:
Canada remains the only industrialized country that outlaws privately financed purchases of core medical services. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other politicians remain reluctant to openly propose sweeping changes even though costs for the national and provincial governments are exploding and some cancer patients are waiting months for diagnostic tests and treatment.
But a Supreme Court ruling last June ó it found that a Quebec provincial ban on private health insurance was unconstitutional when patients were suffering and even dying on waiting lists ó appears to have become a turning point for the entire country.
“The prohibition on obtaining private health insurance is not constitutional where the public system fails to deliver reasonable services,” the court ruled.
The Times article goes on to report that the Canadian Supreme Court decision is spurring the markets to respond to the deficiencies in the Canadian government-administered system:
The country’s publicly financed health insurance system ó frequently described as the third rail of its political system and a core value of its national identity ó is gradually breaking down. Private clinics are opening around the country by an estimated one a week, and private insurance companies are about to find a gold mine.