Here is what some of our readers have had to say about what the Romanow Report should recommend.
If you'd like to contribute your thoughts, click here. We unfortunately can't guarantee all responses will be posted:
I think that the Romanow Report serves two important purposes. One, it should help raise the importance of funding public health care in Canada. The second is to show how ridiculously divided perspectives of the right and left are in our country. For someone who thinks that Canada has the potential to be a great society, it has been difficult to listen to right of centre Canadians answers that health care needs to be privatized. I intend to actually read your report, Mr. Romanow, and I thank you for completing this task.
Frankly I am disappointed. If a private provider is willing to accept the single payer fee as payment in full then the state will have saved in terms of underwriting equipment and facility costs. This would leave more funds for other pressing medical concerns. If someone is willing to pay for private care and not burden the system with their medical costs, why would anyone object? Mr. Romanow has allowed his ideology to get in the way of practicality.
Market forces? What market forces? Since when did medical necessity fall into the same camp as a widget manufacturer or Wal-Mart? I am finishing off a nine-year experience in the U.S. and believe me, market forces have no place in what is basically a captive customer. While I may choose to buy or not to buy widgets or to shop or not at Wal-Mart, I have limited input as to the state of my health.
Roy Romanow discourages a two-tier system. Surprise but it's already here. In B.C. I pay over 1300 a year for health care for my family. There are families that pay less or those that pay nothing. Where is the universality in that?
The mountain has laboured and has brought forth a mouse.
It's difficult to understand how a problem can be studied for 18 months and the main solution put forward is to throw more money at it. It's an embarassment that this is the best our government can come up with.
I don't understand how a universal pharmaplan is too expensive. Currently, Canadians are already paying 100% of drug costs through taxes, insurance premiums, or out of pocket. A single pharmaplan would eliminate duplication and lower drug prices.
I submitted a paper I prepared for the Fraser Institute to the Romanow committee. The key point is that Canadians must take out extensive health insurance to travel abroad. Checking Canadian hospitals I found most do not charge or charge far too little for hospital care for foreign visitors. Break your ankle in the U.S. and you can expect a bill of $1500.00 (US). If a visitor from the U.S. faces the same circumstance in Canada there may be no bill or a token bill of $100.00.
Now that Canadians have spoken, Mr.Romanow has delivered that message. Do the Federal Liberals have the courage to follow through?
A blended private public system controlled by the people who fund it is the solution that will most likely work for Canada. We just have too many layers of vested interests to make a single solution work for all Canada. But we need to make sure that we don't give the insurance companies control over anything. If they have any substantial say in this we are in deep trouble.
Hiring Roy Romanow to evaluate medicare is like hiring Vladimir Lenin to do a critical assessment of socialism. Ideology is paramount. We did not need Romanow to tell us that the system is failing. More money is not the answer. Creating a watchdog will be no more effective than was the federal government's hiring of ex-NHL referee Bruce Hood to watch over Air Canada. Efficiency and accountability are the hallmarks of private enterprise. Relatively few Canadians today would argue that generally government is better able to provide services than is the private sector. So why the steadfast resistance to the private provision of health care services?
Congratulations to Roy Romanow and his team. Simply put, the report clearly addresses the current and future needs of Canadians. An ever-expanding degree of health care is managed through medications. What the Romanow Report appears to recognize is the shift in delivery and management of disease to an out-patient, pharmaceutical-based approach.
I fully support the policies put forth in the Report. One provision though, financial support for prescriptions must be tied to income.
Let's see...what does the report say?The solution is to spend more money, expand publicly-funded services, reduce private sector involvement and expand the goverment bureaucracy to monitor the whole thing. This is no surprise considering who was running the commission.
This is just more of the pie-in-the-sky, gobbledy goop that we have been hearing for the last several years. There is no innovation or changing of the status quo. If health care is to survive, someone must start thing outside the box. Just throwing gobs of money at a system that is not working will not fix it.
Thank you Mr. Romanow for having the guts to speak the truth about the fact that medicare is the intelligent choice for Canada. Those who do not learn the lessons of history are condemned to report their mistakes.
Until governments in Canada-federal , provincial and municipal-start to reveal where their funds are being spent. Until then, all reports written by anyone is a complete excerise in futility.
No surprise. You ask a socialist how to improve our health care and he recommends pumping taxpayer dollars into the system. We didn't need a $15-million report to figure this out. Unfortunately Romanow is living in the past.
Why was there no mention of our immigration system which allows for unrestricted access to our country by senior immigrants, which are costing us billions of dollars. No other country but Canada allows this stupidity. As soon as their feet touch our shores millions of dollars are expended on their health care. I am not against senior members of families immigrating but I am against paying for their health care.
I am just about to read the report but I could have told you before he started what it is going to say. Spend more money. They are just going to throw more money at a broken, poorly-designed system. It won't work and needs major re-structuring. I was a senior consultant for 40 years with a major benefit consulting firm here in Canada. What expertise does Romanow have?
What a waste of time and money. Why we can't have public health insurance and private delivery escapes me? The only winners here are the public sector unions who can easily hold a single employer hostage to radical wage demands and the big government, central planning bureaucrats who do little, screw up the system and cost big dollars. Mr. Romanow has shown a catastrophic inability to think outside his socialist box, or maybe he's just afraid to incur the rath of the big public sector unions that fund the NDP that he so clearly identifies with.
Change? Who needs change? More money will cure the system. How original! How innovative! The talking heads always said that Saskatchewan New Democrats were pragmatic and conservative, and I guess Romanow has proved it.
The Romanow watch dog will just create another huge government department to think up ways to spend money. How money gets spent is a provincal responsibility
I believe there must be a compromise between the Canadian and American systems - certainly neither one is perfect. I live in Saskatchewan and will never forget the day the Romanow government closed 52 hospitals in one day. The savings have yet to be seen as administration costs continue to rise. There is no doubt we have two-tiered health care in this country - compare rural to urban. The problems facing health care won't be fixed by throwing more money at it. What has that gotten us so far?
It is unfortunate that many commentators have over simplified the role of private practice in the Canadian health system. Choice is a fundamental ingredient of a modern democracy. Consumers of the health system have no choice but to use the publicly operated system be it good or bad. The absence of an alternative leads to poorer standards in the knowledge that patients must adopt the role of grateful recipients rather than empowered consumers. We have a recruitment problem. Doctors and other allied health workers can earn much more in the US than in Canada. We cannot or will not increase pay rates to retain skilled professionals. The introduction of private healthcare alongside the public system offers an opportunity for professionals to supplement their income without draining the public purse. These comments are based primarily on my UK experience as a healthcare professional and manager as well as recent experience through INSITE Consultancy Inc.