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ANALYSIS: Preliminary Analysis of the Romanow Report from the Canadian Health Coalition and the Canadian Labour Congress

Posted: November 28, 2002

(November 28, 2002)

The Romanow Report on the Future of Health Care concluded that there is a consensus among Canadians that Medicare is a moral enterprise, not a commercial venture. Canadians believe that equal and timely access to medically necessary health services on the basis of need alone is a right of citizenship. The core values which underpin Medicare remain the same – equity, fairness and solidarity. As a result, Canadians reject diluting the principles of Medicare, scrapping national standards, paying privately to get faster care, and treating health care as a business. The Romanow Report rejects a parallel tier of private, for-profit care for the delivery of what he calls direct health care services such as medical, diagnostic and surgical care. This conclusion is to be applauded. It is based on evidence that for-profit care will harm, not improve, Medicare. While the Report has rejected a parallel tier of for-profit care, there does not appear to be a mechanism for ensuring that this does not happen. It does recommend that the Canada Health Act must be clarified to include these services under the Act. The Report needs to be looked at more closely. Overall, the Romanow Report offers some important steps forward to preserving and expanding Medicare for today’s and future generations, but it is just a starting point. It has established some fundamental principles which need to be built and expanded upon.

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