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Commentary

The doctors' chance to lead
Edwin Coffey, Victor Dirnfeld, David Gratzer, National Post, 8-16-05

Dirnfeld, Coffey and Gratzer call on the Canadian Medical Association to reverse its stance and support the availability of private health insurance for all Canadians.

This week in Edmonton, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) holds its annual meeting. And today, physicians from across the country will consider a series of motions, including several that would reverse the CMA's policy of opposing private health insurance. As delegates weigh that issue, they must ask themselves a simple question: Are doctors going to lead the debate on health reform or will they abdicate their responsibility?

Britain allows private insurance. So do Germany, France, Australia and Sweden. In fact, no Western country—except ours—bans a private option for core medical services.

Let's be clear: Allowing private health insurance will not single-handedly solve Canada's woes. But it would be a small step in the right direction. The alternative is to leave this debate up to our politicians. For a decade now, the CMA has done that. And what a disaster it's been.



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