The CEO Poll: Health-care heart trouble

CEOs mixed on state of Canadian health care.

Business leaders give the federal mini-budget high marks.

Newfoundland premier Danny Williams made headlines recently when he opted to get heart surgery in the U.S. and not Canada, sparking discussion about the healthcare system in this country. But a majority of CEOs surveyed by COMPAS Inc. believe Williams made a rational decision.

More than 60% of the respondents agree with the statement that Williams acted sensibly, and the resulting media attention highlights the difficulty of speaking publicly about our health care system. ‘[Williams] ought to be allowed to freely choose where he gets his health care,’ wrote one respondent. ‘This just underlines the need for a two-tiered system.’

Exactly half of the panelists also said there is no significance to the story at all. ‘The premier did what anyone of means would do in the same situation,’ according to one panelist. ‘Myself and many of my friends regularly go to the U.S. and other countries for better care,’ wrote another.

Less than 40% of the CEOs said the incident demonstrates the failings of the Canadian healthcare, but nearly three-quarters of them support the existence of a parallel private system. ‘We need a serious public debate on healthcare with an open-minded approach to the options,’ wrote one respondent.

When asked about the quality of healthcare in Canada, the general view among the CEOs was that the system was neither improving nor deteriorating. A different consensus was reached when COMPAS asked the same question in 2002. Back then, most of the respondents felt the system was declining in quality.