Should some children get better care than others? Two-tier creeps in.

The Hamilton Spectator reports that  "[h]undreds of area families are turning to a private health service to get their children treatment for autism and other developmental disabilities because of long waits and gaps in publicly funded care.  A growing company called blueballoon has 1,400 clients in the Hamilton and Burlington area who pay as much as $125 an hour to get their kids help with a wide range of issues".(My emphasis.)

Paying privately is sometimes the only way to get access to optimal care, acknowledges Dr. Peter Szatmari, who heads McMaster University's division of child psychiatry and is considered one of the world's leading experts in autism.  And even McMaster Children's Hospital, which has among the best autism services in Canada, needs more resources.

Szatmari says improvements need to be made to ensure treatment doesn't depend on parents' ability to pay for private services. "I think these are programs that need to be universally funded for everyone who needs them."

Hear, hear!


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