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Morneau Shepell report says Canada's health care system needs an overhaul

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Health & Productivity Solutions / Canada

Morneau Shepell report says Canada's health care system needs an overhaul

Vision Report on health care system calls for change in priorities

TORONTO, May 24, 2011 /CNW/ - Canadians are not getting full value for the money spent on health care, says an in-depth report on our healthcare system by Morneau Shepell, which is the largest Canadian-based firm offering benefits and pension consulting, outsourcing, and health and productivity solutions.

"The crux of the problem is that our system places too much emphasis on acute care and not enough on prevention," says Fred Vettese, who prepared the company's Vision Report called 'Canada's Health Care System - Time for an Intervention'. Vettese is Chief Actuary of Morneau Shepell Inc.

"We could relieve much of the pressure on our health care resources by reversing the decades-long trend of increasing obesity," said Vettese. "This is where prevention comes into play. We also find that the cost of end-of-life care in Canada is much higher than in other countries and is a major reason for long wait times. Evolving demographics will only make these problems worse."

According to the report:

  • Canada has one of the most expensive healthcare systems in the world, but we are not getting our money's worth.
  • A major increase in taxes, reduction in quality of health care, or a cannibalizing of other government-provided services is almost inevitable without an overhaul of the current system.

The report says Canada spends much more on its elderly than every other country except the U.S., but our elderly are no healthier than the Europeans or Japanese. The unusually high cost of treating the elderly is a major reason why health care services are rationed in Canada and it is likely to get worse. By 2031, the report says nearly half of our health care resources will serve those aged 75 and over, even though they will represent only 1/9th of the population.

The report lists 'possible fixes' and while more of the same is the most likely scenario, it is not a viable long-term solution. Other possible fixes are as follows:

  • User-based funding. A nominal $10 fee per doctor visit would likely reduce the number of questionable consultations.
  • Introducing health credits is a way to make consumers price-sensitive without restricting access to services. This could reduce unnecessary utilization.
  • Evidence-based medicine could direct resources to the most effective treatments and improve overall efficiency.

Ultimately, the report calls for a renewed focus on wellness rather than on acute care. The report is available at:

Morneau Shepell

Morneau Shepell is the largest Canadian-based firm offering industry leading benefits and pension consulting, outsourcing, as well as health and productivity solutions. The company works with clients to develop innovative solutions that integrate with their business strategies to achieve results. Through Benefits and Health Solutions Consulting, Pension Consulting, Health Management, Administration Solutions and Shepell-fgi's Employee Assistance Program, Morneau Shepell helps clients reduce costs, increase employee productivity, and improve their competitive positions by supporting their employees' financial security, health and well-being.

Established in 1962, Morneau Shepell has grown to serve over 8,000 clients, ranging from small businesses to some of the largest corporations and associations in North America. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, it has offices in the United States and over 70 locations across Canada. Morneau Shepell Inc. is a publicly traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). For more information, visit

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Jerry Amernic