Saturday, October 30, 2010

oh data...

Quick question to begin with: Provincial healthcare costs per capita; More is better, or less is better?

I'll give you a few seconds to think about it.




Well, of course there's no easy answer to that, but it would seem that the answer depends on where you're from.

An article in the free 24H paper yesterday proudly claims Québec champion des économies en santé (Quebec champion of healthcare savings). Quoting numbers from the latest study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the article highlights the fact that Quebec was the canadian province who spent the least per capita in healthcare, which is a sign of effective cost control.

Malgré les critiques qui lui sont régulièrement adressées, le système de santé québécois serait l’un des plus performants au pays en matière de contrôle des dépenses. (In spite of regular criticisms, the healthcare system in Quebec is one of the best-perfoming ones in the country in terms of expenditure control.)

That sounds pretty good right? With all the fuss about healthcare costs skyrocketing, it's good news that the govt can keep the spending low, right?

Well, apparently not.

The other side of the medal is brought to you by the Metro newspaper (the other newsprint distributed for free in the metro), who taps into the Canadian Press feed, and ran the following story: Dépenses pour la santé: le Québec en fin de liste (Healthcare spendings: Quebec at the bottom of the list). According to the Canadian Press, Quebec lags behind the other provinces in terms of healthcare expenditures.

Which is obviously a bad thing. Cuz if you're lagging behind, well, you've got some catching up to do. And who do you have to catch up with? Well, Alberta of course! Who spends $6266 per capita.

According to the CP article, Quebec lags behind, and it's a bad thing, because it's bad to spend less money than everyone else on health care. It's bad, because...

Well, I don't know why. Why is it bad, again? Do tell me, O CP article.

In case you haven't figured out by now, the CP article does not tell us why low expenditures is bad. And I'm not too impressed with their reporting.

Sure, one can interpret data one way or the other, but saying Quebec was "lagging behind" just stuck me as the typical Quebec bashing that so many Qcers complain about. It implies something negative about Quebec, yet doesn't offer anything to back it up.

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