According to a new study by the Institut économique Molinari (IEM), state control has not only proved inefficient but is also dangerous for patients’ health. “People in France should be aware that this sort of policy presents many risks, as the Canadian system illustrates perfectly,” stated Valentin Petkantchin, the IEM’s research director and the author of the study.
Paris, Thursday, June 18, 2009 – The proposed “hospital, patients, health and territories” legislation will soon be submitted to National Assembly and Senate votes. With a view to controlling health insurance costs, this reform seeks to place independent medical practice under a form of trusteeship and to extend government control over the French health care system. France is gradually moving closer to tightly government-controlled systems like Canada’s.
According to a new study by the Institut économique Molinari (IEM), state control has not only proved inefficient but is also dangerous for patients’ health.
“People in France should be aware that this sort of policy presents many risks, as the Canadian system illustrates perfectly,” stated Valentin Petkantchin, the IEM’s research director and the author of the study.
A failure in controlling health care costs
The logic of state control has been pushed to an extreme in Canada for the last several decades, with the following results:
- A growing share of the Canadian provincial budgets is swallowed by the health care system, going in 20 years (1983-2003) from 32% to 41%.
- Health care spending in Canada is among the highest in the world. For example, as a portion of GDP, and taking account of an aging population, Canadian spending ranked second in 2005, ahead of fourth-place France.
An unenviable performance in terms of care
In Canada, state control of health care has led to drastic rationing and to degradation in the quality of care.
- Chronic waiting lists: Waiting times for hospital treatment went from an average of 7.3 weeks in 1993 to 17.3 weeks in 2008. According to a ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada, “patients die as a result of waiting lists for public health care.”
- Difficulty in finding family doctors: 1.7 million Canadians were unable to find a family doctor in 2007. This affects the ill in particular because it is generally impossible to consult a specialist or to take tests without being referred by a general practitioner.
- Access to new drugs is delayed or rejected: Because of arduous administrative procedures, access to new drugs for patients relying on provincial public systems is delayed. In 2006, this delay was about 11 months (323 days). Even with this delay, most new treatments end up being rejected. In October 2007, an average of only 42% of those launched in 2004, 2005 and 2006 had been listed for payment by these systems.
“The state control of the health care system toward which the public authorities in France are moving leads to a dead end and risks producing the same results as in Canada,” Mr. Petkantchin warns.
Titled How state control can send health care off course: the Canadian example, the IEM study is available at https://www.institutmolinari.org/spip.php?article160.
Information and interview requests:
Valentin Petkantchin, PhD
Director of research
Institut économique Molinari
GSM: +33 6 82 69 17 39