Canadian Views on Health Care Scenarios: Ipsos-Reid

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When it comes to medicare, almost three quarters of Canadians are looking for something more than the status quo

While Only 15% Favour A Full Parallel Public-Private System, Equal Numbers 29% And 30% Want Either “Enhanced Medi-care” Or Some Form Of “Complementary Private Sector Role

June 7, 2006 – Ottawa, ON – The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has identified 10 first-order policy principles that should be considered when various policy options affecting the public-private balance are being examined. As part of this, the CMA has developed four scenarios for health care reform in Canada and conducted an on-line poll through Ipsos-Reid to evaluate public views of towards these four scenarios. As part of the on-line survey, on a randomized basis the respondents read four scenarios; first, a scenario that described the status quo for Canada’s health care system, second, a scenario that described an enhanced form of Medicare, third, a scenario describing Medicare with Complementary private insurance, and fourth, a fourth that described Medicare with a parallel private system. For the full description of the scenarios and definitions for comprehensiveness and equity, please see a copy appended as Appendix I.

When asked which scenario would result in the best health care system for Canada, almost three-quarters of Canadians are looking for something more than the status quo. More specifically, this preference is spread across three new scenarios for health care reform; a scenario that involves Medicare with complementary private insurance (30%), followed closely by another scenario that involves an enhanced form of Medicare (29%), and to a lesser extent, a third scenario that describes a Parallel Private System (15%). Currently, one-quarter (26%) of Canadians feel that the status quo would result in the best health system for Canada.

Canadians were also asked to gauge the greatest positive impact of each scenario across four dimensions: overall impact, comprehensiveness, timely access and equity.

Public Ratings of Scenarios

What kind of impact do you think the scenario described above would have on.

Now, we would like you to pick the scenario among the four that you think would result in the best health care system for Canadians?

The full details of the data points listed below are available in the detailed tables.

In terms of specific dimensions:

  • Greatest positive impact overall: 81% of Canadians say that the scenario which describes an enhanced form of Medicare would have a very/somewhat positive impact on overall health care in Canada, followed by the scenario for Medicare with Complementary private insurance (72%). Scenarios that detail either the status quo (64%) or Medicare with a parallel private system (51%) are rated lower on positive impact overall.
  • Timely Access to care: The scenario describing an enhanced form of Medicare was identified by 78% of Canadians as potentially having a very or somewhat positive impact on timely access to care, followed closely by the scenario for Medicare with Complementary private insurance (76%). Falling more than 20 points lower on positive impact on timely access were the scenario detailing the status quo (56%) and one which sets out Medicare with a parallel private sys-tem (53%)
  • Comprehensiveness: 79% of Canadians feel that the scenario for an enhanced form of Medicare would have either a very or somewhat positive impact on comprehensiveness of health care, followed by the scenario describing Medi-care with Complementary private insurance (71%). Neither the scenario for the status quo (61%) or that for Medicare with a parallel private system (55%) rank as highly on potential positive impact on the comprehensiveness of health care.
  • Equity: 74% of Canadians feel that the scenario for an enhanced form of Medi-care would have a very or somewhat positive impact on the equity of health care. None of the remaining scenarios rank as highly on greatest positive im-pact on Equity; the scenario for status quo (66%), the scenario for Medicare with Complementary private insurance (64%) and that for Medicare with a parallel private system (43%).
  • As an overall trend, the fourth scenario which describes Medicare with a parallel private system consistently ranks the lowest on positive impact across the four aforementioned dimensions.

These are the findings of Ipsos-Reid/Canadian Medical Association poll among the public. The poll among Canadians was conducted from May 26th and May 29th, 2006. For the survey, a representative randomly selected sample of 1,000 adult Canadians were interviewed via the Internet. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within �3.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian population been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure the sample’s regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to the 2001 Census data.