The private sector on health care’s front lines: a new deal?

The central role of primary health care is indisputable. As the point of entry to our health-care system, primary care should in theory meet 80 per cent of Quebecers’ health and social service needs by preventing health problems from occurring or worsening. The Legault government’s health-care reform plan (Plan santé) aims to entrust primary care to Family Medicine Groups (or GMFs for groupes de médecine de famille) ― 75 per cent of which are privately owned ― and they are making it sound like this is a bold and innovative solution. Looking back at the last 50 years, Anne Plourde, author and researcher at the Institut de recherche et d’informations socioéconomiques (IRIS), found that the opposite is true. Private-sector involvement in primary care is nothing new, and the dominant view of primary care in Québec has largely been shaped by the private sector.

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