The PCQ would rely on direct private-public competition to improve care delivery

(Quebec) The rescue of the public health network will be done by private companies, according to the Quebec Conservative Party (PCQ).

Posted at 5:23pm

Jocelyn Richer
The Canadian Press

A government led by Éric Duhaime would rely on the active promotion of competition between the private and public sectors and on foreign private investment to improve healthcare for Quebecers.

A completely transformed health care system, based on direct private-public competition, will be at the heart of the small revolution advocated by the Conservatives in the next election campaign.

Far from being complementary, the contribution of the private sector must be at the heart of the reform to be implemented. And if the private companies here and elsewhere that invest in health benefit, so much the better.

Because without direct competition between the public network and the private company, “everything will fail,” predicted the Dright Karim Elayoubi, PCQ’s main health spokesman and party candidate in Argenteuil.

“We want foreign investors to use their financial capital, intelligent capital to come here” to build private hospitals, private clinics, he described his ideal model for turning patients into customers. .

The competition must become “the central tool” available to the government to “attract investors” who ultimately want not only to build hospitals but also to manage them, the doctor added, convinced that there was an urgent need for the state to end the healthcare monopoly.

The Dright Elayoubi was one of the keynote speakers invited to attend the colloquium on the place of the private sector in healthcare organized by the party in Quebec on Saturday.

According to him, despite the radical nature of the changes proposed by the Conservatives, their proposal does not contradict the principles enshrined in Canada’s Health Care Act, particularly on the basis of universality. A challenge in court therefore seems “unlikely” to him.

Faced with a new dynamic, with the widest possible openness to private companies and insurance companies, the public health network would organize itself to be more efficient, he believes, in order to “ensure its survival” and “have no choice but to adapt to its competitor “. .

The Conservatives want to end the monopoly of the Régie de l’assurance maladie (RAMQ). They want Quebecers to be able to purchase private insurance (known as “duplicate”) for services and care already provided by the RAMQ. For example, a privately insured patient waiting for surgery might choose to be treated in a private clinic if they find the waiting time in the public service too long. In principle, part of the bill would be covered by the insurance company. Finally, tax credits could be made available.

This still raises the issue of accessibility. Not everyone will necessarily be able to afford private insurance, which can be very expensive. So at some point people with double insurance would have an advantage over others in having the choice of waiting their turn on the public network or going to a private clinic. But the PCQ claims that this approach would be accessible to the middle class and would help open waiting lists to the public.

According to Dright Elayoubi, who denounces the current “pseudo-universality”, that the current monopoly is “elitist” because access to private clinics is reserved for the wealthy, the only ones who can cover the cost of a surgical procedure.

For the system to work, the Conservatives expect a whole series of major changes, such as allowing mixed practices for doctors who could easily switch overnight from public to private, which is currently prohibited. The PCQ also wants to significantly increase the number of doctors, with the aim of training 300 to 500 more medical students every year.

In addition, we want to strengthen the powers and autonomy of health workers, including nurses, and speed up the recognition of health workers with foreign degrees.

The Conservatives also promise to review hospital funding, an idea that has been circulating in other parties for years. The hospitals that treat the most patients would receive the most money from the state. We must see the patient as an income and not an expense, summarized the Dright Elayoubi.

The PCQ is not trying to “privatize” the health network, but to “liberalize” it, said the doctor, who also advocates a strong decentralization of the decision-making process.

The freedom of the patient is at the heart of the reform, for example we want them to be able to choose the hospital where they are operated. In fact, we want hospitals to compete with each other.

Conservatives believe a full health care overhaul will take a decade. But they want to initiate a possible seizure of power in the National Assembly right from the start.

Saturday’s symposium attracted a few hundred activists in person and in virtual mode. Other speakers were invited to offer their thoughts on the subject: Maria Lily Shaw, economist at the Montreal Economic Institute, Norma Khozhaya, vice president for research and chief economist at the Conseil du patronat du Québec, and CEO of the Montreal Economic Institute, Michel Kelly-Gagnon and the conservative essayist Joanne Marcotte.

According to the latest polls, the PCQ is on the rise. The leader of the party, Éric Duhaime, made a brief appearance at the end of the conference to say that health is likely to be the central issue in the next election campaign.

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