Once again, the U.S. presidential election elevated Canadian health care – colloquially known as medicare – as a role model. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed its many shortfalls and triggered a public debate over allowing private alternatives.
A chief concern – though not the only one – among reform advocates is waiting times for medical attention and surgery. Integrating private and public health-care services could offer swifter, patient-oriented care. Medicare’s proof is in the pudding, with 1,062,286 people on waiting lists in 2019 and 217,500 people heading abroad in 2017 to pay out of pocket rather than face rationed care.
In September, British Columbia’s Supreme Court ruled against broader private health care. Plaintiffs argued that the excessive delays were a violation of Canada’s constitutional rights to life, liberty and security.