The taboo of private health is a myth

The taboo of private health is a myth


Each election, including this one, the polls confirm. For the vast majority of Quebecers, the number one issue is health. There are two reasons for this.

1) Our population is aging faster than elsewhere in the country. 2) Long before the pandemic, because of repeated cuts since the 90s and poorly crafted reforms, our health care system was already cracking everywhere.

Nearly 20% of Quebecers are still waiting for the miracle to be taken care of by a family doctor or a Family Medicine Group (FMG). And to see a specialist? Might as well pull 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 network of out of whack health and social services, including third-world-looking emergencies, it's 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. That's a lot.

To be royally mistaken

Éric Duhaime is therefore royally mistaken when he speaks of the “word in p ” 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 still 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 in fact 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.

Emergencies are still overflowing

This same “partnership” long-standing private-public, however, has not prevented the emergency room from chronically overflowing. It has not addressed the dire shortage of home care or long-term care.

Access counter 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 “. 

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

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

As 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.

The taboo of private health, it's a myth