Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A Health Care System "Better Suited to a Monty Python Movie"

In the US, advocates for a single-payer health care financing system have long cited the Canadian model. And many of these advocates have implied that changing the US health care financing system would cure most of the country's health care ills.
To illustrate that a single-payer financing system has not solved all of Canada's health care problems, see this story in the Globe and Mail.
In Ontario, hospitals often have to guess what the government will set as their budgets, then run for most of the fiscal year based on the guess, only to find out at the end of the year that their guess was wrong. The provincial government may then blame the hospital for running a deficit based on a budget the hospital had never actually seen. So that's one reason why the head of the Ontario Hospital Assocation called for a new system, claiming the current one "would be better suited to a Monty Python movie."
This is just a reminder that organization and governance of health care may be even more important than financing. But in the US, financing receives much more attention.

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