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Canadians have long prized their publicly funded health-care system. And they should. Medicare is one of Canada's great advantages. But medicare is in trouble, facing an aging population, expensive procedures, uncertain government funding and unacceptable waiting times for key procedures.

The deal between Ottawa and the provinces that underwrites Canada's health care system expires in less than four years. Costs are climbing, as is confusion about the roles of private and public sectors in a complex system.

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We wanted to examine:

  • The role of specialized private clinics and public-private partnerships in health care delivery

  • The use of electronic records to reform the system

  • How Canada compares to other industrialized countries, and differences between provinces

  • The difference between two-tier care and privately delivered care

Most-viewed, most-discussed stories

  1. Looking for the cracks in medicare? Try the Ontario-Quebec border Quebec patients are turned away or pay out-of-pocket for medical services outside their home province, essentially denied portability More...

  2. Is this private clinic surgeon a crusader or criminal? In the seemingly endless debate over the sins and virtues of private, profit-oriented health care, this state-of-the-art facility on a lovely, tree-lined Vancouver street is Ground Zero. More...

  3. Little old ladies are crashing the system An elderly person’s real needs are fundamentally different from the needs of all the rest of us, writes Margaret Wente. More...

Top scored Catalyst comment

If a patient has to be in pain and agony for a whole year of waiting before a much-needed surgery can mitigate his suffering, there is something seriously wrong in the arrangement of things, as they stand. Undoubtedly, Canada's health care system is in disarray... Gitsrao

Top scored Reader comment

The real truth is that Quebec opted out of the reciprocal billing, not the rest of the provinces. Once again, Quebec wants to be different while blaming the rest of Canada for its problems, and once again it is allowed to do so. This is a Quebec problem, pure and simple... Urban Oldie

Expert panel debate: Most viewed video

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Can private clinics fix public health care? The Globe's health care panel looks at the state of Canada's health care system from two distinct sides and discusses the role private clinics can play within Medicare. More...

Most viewed interactive

How much does your sickness cost? The dollar figure for six common ailments and conditions from hospital bills across Canada View...

Most active live chat

Should we let Canadians pay to jump the health care line? featuring Dr. Brian Day, a private clinic surgeon and former CMA president, and economist Armine Yalnizyan, who advocates for a publicly-funded system. More...

Most active poll and results

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Would allowing more for-profit medicine improve Canada's health care system?

Of 10,029 votes cast:

  • 63% No

  • 37% Yes


Two-tier care and privately delivered care are not the same thing. A good deal of the system is private already. And where it generates savings, if we maintain the same standards we expect from providers in the public system, more of it should be... The Globe and Mail

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