What's Wrong with Healthcare?

Thinking inside and outside of the healthcare box. After 41 years of family practice, what's happened to Canada's healthcare system?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Spiraling Costs

I see the news media is once again quoting Richard Plain, the Edmonton based health care economist. Last I heard of him was some fifteen years ago when his usual song was to cut the fat in health care by reducing doctors and reducing hospital beds. At that time Calgary had 3.3 hospital beds per 1000 population and the conventional wisdom was to decrease this to 2.5 beds per 1000 population. We are now at 1.6 beds per 1000 population in the Calgary region, and Calgary is estimated to be almost 300 family doctors short. Yet the region is asking for a 17% budget increase in spite of an average 7% annual increase over the past seven or eight years. Predictably, Dr. Richard Plain suggests anything that Mr. Klein comes up with won’t work; thankfully, he apparently didn’t make any more suggestions on fixing the situation (once again). Predictably, the news media goes back to the cow that gives the milk (makes a headline), even though the milk given is sour.
The HMOs in the U.S. showed years ago that the more family doctors there are in a population the lower the health care costs per person. I will predict that until we restore the ratio of family doctors to population in our region, costs will continue to spiral.


Anonymous KD - Calgary said...

I saw "Dr." Plain in print again, and I also remember his stupid rants about 'too many doctors' in the mid 1980's. The local CBC LOVES this guy. Apparently it's more important to give a good sound bite than to have any credibility. By the way: My Dad, aged 91, spent SIX nights strapped into an ER stretcher awaiting a bed at the U of A hospital after suffering a stroke. I think it's time somebody did a careful review of Dr. Plain's past recommendations and criticisms, as well as the politicians who carried them out. There is simply no accountability for decisions that have an impact over decades.

9/2/07 1:27 AM  

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