FCPP Publications :: Empowering Healthcare Consumers: "An old friend of the Frontier Centre flew into Winnipeg in the middle of November and left behind more than the winter�s first blizzard. Johan Hjertqvist�s seminar here laid out the basics of what his Belgium-based organization calls the EuroHealth Consumer Index. An ambitious attempt to benchmark the relative sensitivity of countries to healthcare consumers� need for information, it may well represent the wave of the future.
The project�s relevance in Canada can be summed up with one person�s name: Jacques Chaoulli. The Qu�bec doctor had sued his provincial government on behalf of a patient who faced long waiting times for orthopedic surgery. In June, Qu�bec�s Supreme Court ruled that a longstanding ban on private health insurance violated the patient�s rights. Although the decision was later stayed for a year, to allow the provincial and federal governments time to respond, it threw down a gauntlet to our Medicare system. Canadians are tired of being pushed around.
Hjertqvist cited the case as one of several elements in the growing demand for consumer empowerment in healthcare, with escalating costs and unhappiness with waiting lists high on the list. As affluent boomers near the age at which they will max out our healthcare resources, they are increasingly intolerant of the system�s demand that they suffer in silence. If Dr. Mark Godley is willing to sell a private MRI scan at the Maples Surgical Clinic for $695, what exactly gives Health Minister Tim Sale the gall to tell people they can�t spend their own money, or even buy insurance coverage, to get it? Better they should wait months and have taxpayers provide it for $300?
After providing the intellectual ammunition for the 1990s revolution in healthcare delivery in Stockholm�splitting the purchaser from the prov"