For-profit private health care under fire in new report from Canada’s nurses

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Publication date: 
Mon, 2008-10-06

October 6, 2008 - (Ottawa) - There is no evidence to support claims that increasing for-profit private elements in Canadian health care will improve care or reduce cost, according to a new report released on the eve of a National Day of Action for Medicare. The report written for the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions is a summary of the private versus public health care debate in Canada, reviewing the evidence for and against increasing private for-profit health care. “For-profit private health care takes away from the public system. It is not a solution but a huge problem. We need to move forward with public health care, not backwards. For-profit private health care is a huge step back,” says Linda Silas, RN, President of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.
The report reviews the arguments of those advocating for more for-profit diagnostic and surgical clinics, the construction of health infrastructure by corporate investors (P3s), the introduction of fees or co-payments to health services and the role of private insurance to fund patient services. Evidence from international experiments with privatization is contrasted with these claims. The conclusion is that there is no such thing as a parallel system. More for-profit private health care cannot exist as an add-on as it takes away from Canadians. “In 2002, Romanow himself looked for evidence of benefits of for-profit health care and could not find it. Today, Canada’s nurses cannot either. Nurses know the challenges of the public healthn care system better than most, and these problems are small compared to what we will see if there is more for-profit care in this country,” warned Silas.
The report was commissioned by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) and written by independent writer Marc Young. CFNU represents 158,000 nurses.
“For-profit health care is about shareholders, not about patient care or safety or even saving public money,” concludes Linda Silas.
The National Day of Action for Medicare was declared by the Canadian Health Coalition and provincial health coalitions to sound an alarm that our public health care system is disappearing unless there is more government leadership.
For-profit health care: A road paved with gold and doubtful intentions is available for free download. For a copy of the book, please call CFNU’s office at 613-526-4661 or toll free at 1-800-321-9821.
For more information contact CFNU Communications: 613-526-4661.
Deanna MacArthur, cell: 613-889-5213 or
Sean Dillon-Fordyce, cell: 613-277-4757 or