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Tuesday, 12 November 1974
Page: 2284

Senator Baume asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security, upon notice:

(   1 ) Will the Minister for Social Security have tabled in the Senate a report on his most recent visit to Canada to study health care services in that country.

(2)   Did the Minister's investigations confirm what the others had discovered, namely that health care costs have escalated alarmingly in Canada since the introduction of the compulsory health scheme.

(   3 ) Has bulk billing by doctors been a major factor in that escalation, bringing with it gross over-use of the system.

Senator Wheeldon - The Minister for Social Security has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(   1 ) It is not the usual practice to do this and 1 do not intend to do so.

(2)   All advanced western countries are experiencing rapid cost escalation in the provision of health services regardless of their system of financing. Canada is no exception, neither is Australia. There is no evidence available that would suggest that health care costs are increasing at a faster rate in countries that have universal health insurance than in countries that have other forms of financing.

(3)   I found no indication that doctors were over-utilising or opposing the Canadian Health Insurance Scheme because of any bulk billing systems. What I did find was that Canadian Medical Associations of Provinces, in common with all political parties and the community generally, wholeheartedly supported the universal health insurance scheme and claimed that better quality health care was being provided than under the previous private health insurance arrangements.

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