Is it time to consider a publicly funded, privately run healthcare system?

A half-billion-dollar class-action lawsuit was recently authorized against Quebec's long-term care homes for what the suit alleges is "shameful treatment" of its residents.

The Montreal Economic Institute studied the quality of life in publicly funded long-term care facilities, that are both privately and publicly managed.

"It's the same budget, it's the same conditions, it's the same patients, the same clientele," said MEI senior associate analyst Patrick Dery. "The only difference is the management."

Dery said around 18 per cent of the publicly run facilities were entirely adequate while in the privately managed homes, the number was around 64 per cent. In addition,12 per cent of the publicly managed facilities were deemed worrisome by public health authorities, whereas the privately run, publicly funded facilities had none with the same designation.

"So there's a really wide gap in the overall quality in those types of establishments," said Dery.

Dery said the numbers are similar in Europe where publicly funded, privately run healthcare organizations typically perform better than publicly managed ones.

Dery added that MEI and other studies have found around 70 per cent of Quebecers would be okay with privately run facilities so long as they remained publicly funded.

"There's an opening for that and there are a lot of problems with access and quality of care in Quebec, so it could be a good solution," he said. 

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