This article examines the theoretical and practical logics of community engagement exercises in health care rationing. To evaluate such exercises in Canada, it is necessary to compare suspected rationing exercises (such as those in Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan) with clear examples of rationing. The Oregon Medicaid reform process is considered an important example of transparent and community-level rationing from which Canadian executive-driven governments can learn a few valuable lessons. While the Oregon experiment seems to have been a (qualified) success, in the Canadian context, formal citizen participation in decision making might be incompatible with social rights and present an incongruous and antagonistic pairing of executive and popular sources of authority.

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