I just started a nursing course called Nursing Issues. Basically, we have discussions in the class about issues related to the nursing profession. Last class we discussed the ailing Canadian health care system and whether privatization of healthcare services would be a potential solution.
Canada is envied by a lot of countries for our universal, comphrensive, publicly national health care system. In reality, our system is actually mediocre compared to most. Basically, every resident in Canada pays taxes and those taxes help finance most medical services (this does not include dental care or medications). We believe that health care is a fundamental right, unlike the American health care system, where health services are viewed as a privldedge. However, many people contend that the system is inefficient and therefore "sick". Patients are not recieving the best care possible, wait times are long and extensive, and despite our governments spending lots of money, people are not actually more healthy as a result.
One solution to the problem is to privatize Canadian health care services. I personally hate when this idea is proposed. The purpose of a business is to make a profit, not necessarily providing quality health care services. I think patient care would definitely be compromised as a result. For example, in my province, there are private nursing homes. To cut costs, instead of hiring more expensive nurses to give medications, they delegate these tasks to employees that have absolutely no training with medication administration (like Personal Care Attendants).
Also, a privatized health care system means that those individuals with more money can afford to skip waiting lines for surgeries and for diagnosis. This may potentially cause longer wait times for those individuals who have less money and can't afford to pay for health care services, even though they may be more in need of them.
Anyways, enough of my rambling. I think what Canada needs is a reformed health care system, that focuses on health promotion and health prevention and less focused on spending money to cure illnesses (i.e. population health!). This is actually proven to be a more cost effective measure. We don't need shiny new MRI machines, we need new ways to educate the public about healthy practices. Besides, any nurse should know that modifiable factors such as environment and education and healthy child development (to name a few) are much more important than wait times or having access to the newest medical technology. I think nurses are in a great position to make these changes. We must educate themselves about these social and political issues so we can join the health care system debate as well. I think the United States is moving in a positive direction with their health care reform. Woohoo, insurance companies being mandated to pay for checkups and preventative care procedures. And thumbs-up to the it being illegal for insurance companies to refuse coverage becuse of a pre-existing condition!!