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Privatizing Canada's health care is not the answer: Lessons from the United States

Prominent US physician discusses her perspective in CMAJ

Canadian Medical Association Journal

OTTAWA, OCTOBER 6, 2008 - Investing in Canada's public health system is the best way to improve it, rather than privatization, writes Dr. Marcia Angell, a senior lecturer at Harvard Medical School and former editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine. The article was published online today in CMAJ

Dr. Angell cautions against a US-style model of health care, arguing that "the US health care system is enormously inefficient compared with the Canadian system." Health care costs in the United States per person are double those in Canada, outcomes are worse and it is less efficient.

"I would urge Canadians not to be swayed by the siren song of the privatizers," writes Dr. Angell. "This is about profiteering as much as it is about health care. The same businesses that have made an exorbitantly expensive and unhealthy mess of the US system stand ready to do the same in Canada."

"Canada's medicare is one of the best health care systems in the world - far superior to the US system....The wisest course for Canada is to expand and reinforce the public system, not undermine it," she concludes.


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