Premieres must address health care imbalances—report

July 26, 2006

OTTAWA—The federal and provincial governments must work together to reduce disparities in our health care system, says a new report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The study, by CCPA Research Associate Armine Yalnizyan, highlights key reforms governments must make to reduce health disparities and shows that reform and investment in public health care will deliver equity for the best price.

“The premieres may be preoccupied with the so-called fiscal imbalance but there are real imbalances in our health care system that must be addressed,” says Yalnizyan. “Health care is a top priority for Canadians and the Premieres should make it a priority as well.”

The report examines trends in health care reform, specifically in the areas of governance, finance and coverage, human resources and information. It finds that:

  • Canada’s health care systems have become increasingly fragmented and riddled with inequities over time;
  • public insurance and investment is cheaper than private;
  • prescription drugs are the biggest cost driver and the public sector has the greatest ability to manage costs and ensure universal access;
  • health care professionals must be trained and deployed differently; and
  • information systems are key to innovation and improving access and outcomes.

“Governments argue that the health care slice of their pie is too big, but it is the pie itself that has been shrinking. Tax cuts do not address the reality that some Canadians cannot afford their medicine,” says Yalnizan. “Our history shows that risk sharing across the entire population is the only way to improve equality and health outcomes.”


Getting Better Health Care: Lessons from (and for) Canada is available on the CCPA web site: It is being released today at a conference organized by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.

For more information contact Kerri-Anne Finn, CCPA Communications Officer, at 613-563-1341 x306.