Netherlands: Universal health care without a government-run health insurance monopoly
The Netherlands achieves universal health care by promoting patient choice, provider competition, and market incentives. In contrast to Canada, relatively few patients in the Netherlands are expected to endure lengthy wait times for appointments with specialists or to receive elective surgery.
The Netherlands offer an example of a practical, working system that provides universal health care without relying on a government-run health insurance monopoly.
While the Netherlands spends roughly the same on health care (as a percent of GDP) as Canada, it does so by incorporating provider competition and consumer choice.
Canada can maintain its social goal of universal health care while relinquishing its government-run insurance monopolies. Importantly, by encouraging individuals and families to shop around for the insurance plan that best suits their personal needs, insurance companies are forced to compete on both price and services.
Likewise, due to the competitive nature of the insurance market and because patients and insurers have the ability to choose their preferred providers, the appropriate economic incentives are in place to encourage a highly efficient health care market centered on the patient.