Friday, August 3, 2007

The only thing worse than private healthcare is Ontario's socialized monopoly healthcare

Kris Larson wrote in "Private care will only make things worse" (National Post, Aug 2, 2007):

"Re: Allow Private Care: CMA, July 31.

There are several problems with the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) plan, which nations who used to have universal health care but turned to two-tier care, like Britain and New Zealand, have faced:
-Doctors will work more in the private sector for higher profits; the public sector actually suffers in terms of waiting times;
-Costs increase;
-Loss of universal access to health care, and denials based on insurance;
-Problems with NAFTA, which states that a country can only keep an industry public if it remains public. Once privatized, the country cedes sovereignty to corporations.
I'd rather turn to a made-in-Canada solution that Tommy Douglas's vision described as "The Second Stage of Medicare," rather than a serious problem posing as the solution."


Despite what Larson writes above, it's hard to believe that what passes for healthcare care today won't become better with more competitive privatization.
Larson writes: "Doctors will work more in the private sector for higher profits," (as if that would not be beneficial to both patients and taxpayers), and "the public sector actually suffers in terms of waiting times", as if that's not exactly what the public-payer, status-quo does NOW!
"Costs increase," writes Larson, but they increase now, in a politicized monopoly that's neither accountable nor sustainable. Larson bemoans the "loss of universal access to healthcare" - but it's a myth to promulgate that only a government-run single-payer healthcare monopoly can be universal . This also depends on what "universal" actually means, for we have seen the government monopoly increase taxes/premiums while concurrently decreasing coverage. When Larson fearmongers about "denials based on insurance", that's exactly what her 'single-tier' publicly-run system is doing to Ontario patients RIGHT NOW! There's no legal alternative to patients who need timely medical service.
When Larson talks of not ceding sovereignity to corporations, it would be best for our healthcare system's patients not to cede their individual sovereignity to the dictates of left-wing ideologues and unionized special-interests.
Patients in Ontario should have a right to an OHIP-competitive, hybrid, multi-payer/provider system. And the less we hear about resurrecting Tommy Douglas' failed healthcare ponzi-schemes, the better it will be for all patients.
Another letter in the National Post (also Aug.2, 2007) was from Dr. Irfan Dhalla and Dr. Danielle Martin, of Canadian Doctors for Medicare:

"The CMA's prescription for two-tier Canadian health care is hardly a "new vision." It represents the same old ideas rejected by Canadians since the advent of medicare, when we recognized that access to health care should be based on need rather than ability to pay.
As physicians, we should recommend policy solutions that will benefit all our patients, not just a few wealthy people at the expense of the majority. Despite challenges in Canadian medicare, Canada's health care costs are comparable to those of other countries within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and our health outcomes as good, or better, than the American system at significantly lower cost. In addition, we do not suffer the dangerous side effects that plague two-tier systems, including private clinics' cherry-picking of healthier patients, a drain of health professionals from the public system, unnecessary procedures and a fractured system of medical education.
The answer is to improve medicare, with improved queue management, electronic health records, team-based care, disease prevention and management and population health approaches. The CMA's supposed "new vision" is nothing more than an ill-informed and self-interested push for private care, and one that many, if not most, physicians, and the majority of Canadians, will reject."

It's as if Chaoulli never happened in Quebec; as if the Lindsay McCreith case is not proceeding in Ontario!

The supposed "new vision" of these Doctors For Socialist Healthcare is nothing more than promoting the same old repressive, unresponsive, code-blue health system which caused our problems in the first place.

Their proposed solutions didn't materialize in our current system (...after 40 years of state -run health monopolism!), because the system had no reason or incentive to institute such efficiencies: why should it? There was no incentive for profit, for sustainability, or fear of losing market-share, or financial disruption - there was no reason at all for our current socialist, no-patient choice system to act in any responsive, market-oriented way. And these solutions of wait-time management, electronic records, (billing management anyone?) etc. are anathema to Ontario's socialist-oriented system anyhow. A privately-run healthcare centre would have had to implement, and keep abreast of, such efficiencies and management techniques as a basic matter of operation, not as a pleasant afterthought (as in a socialist monopoly) perhaps years or decades after a systemic "need" or "inefficiency" was detected.

We should not be conned any longer with Tommy Douglasland fairy-tale promises that an endless government-run cornucopia of healthcare is just around the corner, if we only give up a bit more of our freedom, and wait just a bit longer in line.

We've suffered this charade for forty years. We need to be weaned off the only thing we know; that we have been told to believe is acceptable, which is that we should be thankful we have to wait for healthcare! The debate to phase-in market-oriented healthcare reforms has been muzzled as un-Canadian by the flag-draped Canadian Left. An court ruling would level the playing field, abruptly, but our politicians have lost so much time defending our indefensible monopoly, it's criminal.

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