CALGARY, July 30, 2013 /CNW/ - The price of health care in Canada
continues to rise, and with today's physicians earning nearly
four-and-half-times that of the average Canadian, one source of that
increase is doctors themselves.
A report published today by The School of Public Policy, written by Hugh
Grant and Jeremiah Hurley, takes an in-depth look at the drastic rise
in physicians' pay over the last 50 years, including its causes and
what government can do to reverse this trend.
"In constant dollars, today's average Canadian physician is earning
about 30 per cent more than he or she was just a decade ago," the
authors write. "All of this has occurred while physicians have actually
provided slightly fewer services to patients."
The current system for determining physician remuneration is built on
collective bargaining, where provincial governments and medical
associations negotiate increases in fee levels for physician services.
Grant and Hurley argue that over the years, "Doctors have succeeded in
outmaneuvering governments, marshaling greater public support for
higher pay for their work." This led to the average Canadian physician
earning a net income of $248,113 in 2010.
But, the question remains whether increased physician incomes have
yielded better health services to the public at large. The current
system entrusts medical associations with the allocation of funds
across the health-care system; however, as the authors indicate, money
does not necessarily flow to areas that match public health goals
because government is removed from this process.
As the report points out, some provincial governments have already
reached their breaking point and have taken a stand against mounting
physician incomes. For example, Ontario was recently able to freeze
remuneration for doctors in a negotiated contract deal and Alberta
shortly after imposed a unilateral settlement on its doctors after
breaking off negotiations.
Grant and Hurley stress the need for policy makers and physicians to
collaborate on building a new model for funding physicians' work, one
that is in line with the fiscal realities faced by government and that
assures public health objectives are met.
The report can be found at http://www.policyschool.ucalgary.ca/?q=content/unhealthy-pressure-how-physician-pay-demands-put-squeeze-provincial-health-care-budgets
SOURCE: The School of Public Policy - University of Calgary
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