Sunday, July 8, 2007

The BC Health Conversation

There is a very informative website on the Conversation here. The excerpt below is from part of the speaker's notes of Steven Lewis -not Stephen Lewis!- from a Sask. Consulting firm. This is the URL. As the notes show the evidence is generally negative that for profit health care is better and cheaper, that PPP (public-private partnership in financing) is cheaper, that user fees can be introduced without decreasing equity of access.
Of course all of these strategies are part of the reforms of our medicare system not to mention more and more contracting out and various fees to get around user fees plus de-insurance of items to cost shift to private pockets.
Two of the four keynote speakers are from the US. Outside of the US no foreign experts are involved as keynote speakers! I guess we have most to learn from the US!
Or perhaps the best health advisors are in one of the worst health systems.

􀂄Is for-profit health care better and/or cheaper?􀂾No (Romanow, Devereaux; Kirby dissenting)􀂄Is PPP financing cheaper?􀂾No (Pollock, UK analysis) –and why do you think it would be?􀂄Can you increase user charges without decreasing equity of access?􀂾No, not even in Sweden (some very complex means-testing and exemptions mitigate effects but end up like progressive taxation)


Ministry wraps up $10-million worth of public consultations

July 7, 2007

VANCOUVER -- Most of the talking ends today for British Columbia's long-running Conversation on Health, a government exercise in public consultation that one critic dismisses as equivalent to professional wrestling.

The last of 16 regional public forums since February will be held at a Vancouver hotel, wrapping up a series of events that has drawn about 1,100 members of the public as part of a $10-million exercise.

Although the Health Ministry is still taking in e-mails, letters and faxes, the end of the general public forums will finish the most visible work of the process

"All aspects of the conversation have been important, but I know that we have seen considerable generation of good ideas from the regional forums, and some shared understanding about the importance of the publicly funded health-care system and how it should work," said Health Minister George Abbott.

But NDP critic Adrian Dix said the government has managed the process to pursue approaches to health care they are already committed to, referring to an interest in controversial public-private partnerships to build health infrastructure.

"This is professional wrestling, not a serious consultation process," he said. "They have a process where they're going to get a list of public comments from which they can pick and choose."

Rather than launch a public inquiry or commission, the B.C. government - citing fears that costs could rise 28 per cent in the next decade - opened the conversation last fall to solicit public ideas for managing B.C.'s health-care system.

To date, there have been 110 focused workshops, two aboriginal community meetings, 4.4 million hits on the conversation's website, 4,200 comments on a toll-free line and over 6,000 written submissions.

Mr. Abbott, who says no final conclusions have been drawn from all the input, did not deal with the coalition criticism, but accused the NDP of choosing "to throw rocks at the process from the sidelines" rather than joining in.

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