Monday, October 22, 2007

Stop the misleading rhetoric about Canada's healthcare record

Here is Nadeem Esmail's response (National Post, Oct.20, 2007) to Tony Clement:

"Health Minister has the facts wrong

Re: Health Minister Defends Wait Times, letter to the editor, Oct. 17.

Federal Health Minister Tony Clement's letter regarding The Fraser Institute's report on hospital waiting times makes two major mistakes. First, The Fraser Institute publishes Canada's only national, comparable and comprehensive measurement of wait times for medically necessary services. The survey is mailed to all of Canada's practising specialists for whom we have contact information with a response rate of 26%. This is not a small or unreliable sample.

The second mistake pertains to the minister's discussion of Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) data showing an increasing number of surgeries in Canada as proof that wait times are improving. Unfortunately, those numbers are only one side of the equation. Without information on the demand for surgeries, it is impossible to determine what the CIHI data means for wait times. Demand for surgery may have increased by more than the increase in the number of surgeries.

Canada's health care system is the developed world's second most expensive universal access health insurance program and is unable to deliver timely access to medically necessary care for many Canadians. Canada requires leadership on health care, not rhetoric and misleading information.

Nadeem Esmail, director of health system performance studies, The Fraser Institute, Vancouver."
Now's about the time for that 'plan B', isn't it? In Ontario, we should also be asking the McGuinty Liberals, who are actually responsible for the health system, to stop their rhetoric and misinformation as well. On Sept. 26, 2007, during the election, we saw a sullen McGuinty walk away from cancer patient Mike Brady, calling Brady's claims that McGuinty wasn't helping him "not true". It's frightening how many more patients a re-elected and now emboldened McGuinty will walk away from in the next four long years.
We need consumer choice in healthcare to be reintroduced and to be placed back into the hands of the patient.


Cliff said...

Heh. Citing the Fraser Institute in a call for an end to rhetoric and disinformation. Irony isn't dead.

26% is an extremely small and extremely unreliable sample, particularly one so ideologically self selecting as that of a sample that would deliberately respond to a Fraser Institute Study. But you know that.

And I guess there's no point going over the ample evidence of the ideological bias of the Fraser Institute, or it's extensive fiscal support from sectors like insurance and pharmaceutical corporations with a direct financial gain in the large scale dismantling of the current system. You doubtless know these things too.

You probably also know that the private medicine utopia right wingers pine for across the border also has extensive wait times - as long or longer than ours. So, wait times just as long but double the per capita cost as our national system while still leaving millions without coverage at all. That's definitely the direction to head in, sure.

Wait times are the latest stalking horse of the right, a ready made excuse, ironically largely due to the cuts made by right wing politicians like Klein in Alberta and Harris in Ontario, now used by the inheritors of both to recommend attacking the system even further.

But again you already know these things, don't you?

R.Bobak said...

Alert, all Ghostbusters and Night of the Living Dead fans – Tommy Douglas’s zombie "Cliff" still walks the earthly realm! Not until all Canadians suffer while they’re sick will this socialist killer zombie be able to rest. Not until all auto insurance companies are socialized, not until all doctors are state employees, not until all pharmaceutical companies are taken over by Commissar Michael Moore and Czar Romanow of Saskaberia, will these anti-choice CCPA-worshipping trolls declare their Bolshevik inspired hunger satiated! Medicare isn’t about healthcare. It’s about smarmy neo-libs who desire to consolidate political power. “Cliff”, your Jurassic Park-era ideology has fallen from the precipice. But you know that already, don’t you? Haunt other web pages, or better yet, go volunteer at a hospital.