Calendar Girl (kirilaw) wrote,
Calendar Girl

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A study shows that for-profit health care costs more

See, this is what I've never understood about the case for for-profit health care. How can it possibly end up being less expensive? It's part of the conservative (note small c) ideology that anything public is, necessarily, inefficient and bureaucratic, and that the private sector is a model of efficiency and innovation. And while it's certainly true that there is a substantial element of the bureaucratic in the public system, I remain unconvinced that the private sector could do much better. Even if the private sector can improve efficiency to a certain degree, it's not going to solve the health care funding problem. The same rather significant resources will still be needed, they'll still have to pay for doctors and nurses and cleaning staff and equipment and medications. And while they can cut the staff's salary to the bone, there's only so far they can go and still have a working staff. Recent health care strikes indicate that people will only allow themselves to be pushed so far. Legislate a few more employees back to work in support of the for-profit clinic's profit margin and see how far you get. Even as altruistic a bunch as the people who work in health services will not work for free. At the very least, you will soon find an eerie absence of individuals interested in entering the field to replace the early retirements of the ones who've already been burned out. And then there's the profit motive: how can it possibly save money to have one more group of people looking to take money from the system? I just don't get it.

And how will it reduce waiting times? You still need the same doctors to provide the services, the same nurses. Just because a clinic is "for profit" doesn't mean it can magically generate the staff required to run it.

As a Canadian, one of the things I love most about this country is that anybody can get the health care they need. I recognize that health care is in trouble, that demographic strains are getting worse. I know something has to be done. But privatizing any part of the system is not a workable answer. It's just not. It's not just the public payer side of things that worries me -- many people on the right insist that they have no intention of making people pay for their own health care; they just want the services to be provided by private companies (while the public purse pays). But that's no solution. The services themselves must not be any further privatized than they already have been. It's not doing us any good.

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