The OECD released the Economic Survey of Canada 2010 on September 13, 2010. The report identifies major economic challenges faced by Canada. In one of the report’s chapters, the OECD examines the
Canadian healthcare system in the context of these challenges and offers recommendations for the future around three themes: cost containment, access and quality.
The Canadian Health Services Research Foundation and other Canadian key informants were consulted by the OECD in spring 2010 as background for the report. The issues examined in the report are
aligned with CHSRF’s work exploring healthcare financing and transformation, the impact of an aging population on the healthcare system and primary healthcare system reform.
In the interests of promoting dialogue on the OECD recommendations, CHSRF invited selected healthcare policy- and decision-makers and researchers to a presentation and roundtable discussion on the morning of the report’s release. This document presents highlights of that session.
The OECD’s Economic Survey of Canada 2010 presents an interesting analysis of the prospects for healthcare reform in the current economic climate in Canada. While participants felt that some recommendations showed promise, they expressed concern that others were not based on evidence and could detract attention from more fruitful and evidence-informed directions for reform. Particular concern was expressed with the recommendation for healthcare user fees which, though present in other OECD countries, have been shown to breach the equity objectives underpinning the Canadian healthcare system and celebrated elsewhere in the report. Furthermore, the user fees recommended in the report were seen to contribute nothing to the highly regarded value for money objective.
Participants welcomed the proposal for a publicly financed pharmacare program, greater use of information and communications technologies, an emphasis on value for money supported by performance measurement and accountability, and the creation of a pan-Canadian institution with the authority to collect and report on key performance measures.