University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine

Private Practice and the Public Purse

"We need to rethink the scope of out public health-care system," says law prof

The burgeoning private health-care system in Canada continues to fuel debate about the state of medicare in this country, but a myriad of prohibitive provincial regulations render the practice largely unprofitable. A national survey of provincial health insurance legislation by law professor Colleen Flood and doctoral student Tom Archibald has identified a common objective – preventing private practice from being subsidized with public funds. “The bottom line is you can practise privately but you can’t get paid by the public health-care system,” says Flood, adding that Canada is still a one-tiered system when it comes to physician and hospital care. “However, the trouble is the growth of other areas that aren’t covered by the Canada Health Act such as drugs, gene therapy and home care, which receive private financing. We need to rethink the scope of our public health-care system.”

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