Canadians may not thump their chests with patriotic nationalism like our American neighbours, but we are still a proud bunch.
Not surprisingly, a new national poll found Canadians most proud of our universal health-care system, with 94 per cent calling it "important," including 74 per cent who say it's "very important."
But don't go wrapping yourself in the Maple Leaf just yet.
Health care is not without its challenges, and we are kidding ourselves when we think ours is the best system in the world. It's good, but it could stand to be better.
The Conference Board of Canada recently gave our system a B and ranked it 10th out of 17 countries in an international comparison.
The big problem is we have comparatively high spending, yet only modest health outcomes after treatment.
We are not alone in having an aging population, yet as it continues to place greater and greater burden on the system, throwing more money at the problem won't make it go away.
Already, health care eats up almost half of every tax dollar.
As a nation, we must get away from the ideological argument over private versus public care and focus on a clearer goal than simply preserving health care's universality.
Outcome-based funding would be a huge step in the right direction.
Why keep funding a program if all it does is pump patients through with little change in their quality of life?
Instead of a fee-for-treatment service model, why not direct more dollars to those programs with the most success and which help Canadians avoid treatment altogether?
- Managing Editor