Leading health economist Bob Evans famously coined the phrase ‘zombies’ to refer to ideas that have been solidly and repeatedly refuted by scientific evidence, but keep coming back – usually promoted by powerful professional or commercial interests. One such idea is that private clinics and health care delivery could solve waiting lists and other access problems, and that doctors should be able to practice in both such a private sphere and the existing public system. This was an important plank in the Tory platform in the fall 2007 Ontario election and is being promoted by leading figures in the Canadian Medical Association.
The Wellesley Institute commissioned Dr Michael Rachlis to review the existing research evidence on this issue. His paper Privatized Health Care Won’t Deliver demonstrates the efficiency, quality, equity and other problems associated with private financing and delivery of health care. At the same time, he argues that innovations within the public system can address waiting list and other problems most effectively.