Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Collectivized health care is the problem

Mark Kennedy wrote in “Rock must pacify provinces on medicare”, (St. Catharines Standard, Jun.12, 1997):

"Canada's new health minister vowed Wednesday to preserve medicare and perhaps even expand it with universal pharmacare and home-care programs.
But Allan Rock could quickly discover the only way to make good on his word is to give the provinces more say in deciding the rules of medicare.
The fate of medicare promises to be the key social policy challenge facing the re-elected Liberal government. It must somehow maintain strong federal standards in health care, while creating a new, less argumentative partnership with the provinces.
"I feel a great sense of responsibility taking on this job," Rock said minutes after being shuffled from the Justice portfolio.
After cutting billions of dollars from the health-care system, the Liberals hope to re-establish their reputation as a compassionate party.
Prime Minister Jean Chretien said he chose Rock for health because he's convinced the Toronto-area MP is well suited for the challenges that lie ahead.
Rock is on the left wing of the Liberal party and fervently believes that well-tailored social programs can benefit society.
He is an accomplished communicator and is ease with the media, skills that will be crucial in explaining the evolution of health policy.
As he showed with his controversial gun-control law, he can be tough and unwavering. But he will likely be much more diplomatic than his predecessor, David Dingwall, whose fierce defence of federal powers in medicare sometimes irritated provincial health ministers.
New Brunswick Health Minister Russell King, who speaks for his provincial counterparts, said he hopes Rock will agree to a major review of medicare.
Provincial health ministers recently drafted their own reform blueprint which proposed a restructured system.
"What we need to debate in Canada is what will form a fundamental entitlement service," said King.
The 13-year-old Canada Health Act requires provinces to insure "medically necessary" services. The federal act does not define medical necessity, but does require that provinces provide health care that is universally available, reasonably accessible, medically comprehensive, publicly administered and portable between provinces."


Only 13 years after the CHA, and already the writing was on the wall about the "fate of medicare", and another Liberal hack's grandiose social experiments were in full bloom. Already, the provinces were recognizing that 'restucturing' and 'debate' were necessary. It's like this article was written yesterday. Circling around the same old debate, never daring to speak.
The Liberals had demonized even debating about health care - anything not glorifying Tommy Douglas' shell-game scam was instantly dismissed.
Yet we see that the need for serious debate was there, even then... suppressed by Rock, and, well we saw what the Liberals did later to health minister Pierre Pettigrew (under Paul Martin) when Pettigrew broached a minor proposal for the provinces to have more autonomy in health delivery - - - the Liberals flipped out on Pettigrew!
'Health care social policy' is supposedly always a "key" concern for Liberals, isn't it?! But really, it's just Liberal health care duplicity.
Liberals under Chretien and Martin pretended to uphold Tommy The Commie's status-quo, yet allowed creeping privatzation to occur on their watch. Problem is, they were, and are, never honest about it.
The last line of the above article mentions that the CHA requires the provinces to deliver health care that is universally available and reasonably accessible. But, in Liberal-run-Ontario, in 2007, is it "reasonable", or "available"?! In 2005, in Quebec, was it? Why should health care be the exclusive domain of the government? (...which leads to the next article.)


Here’s a St. Catharines Standard editorial from Nov.9, 2001, “Looking for health care answers”.

"Desperate times call for desperate measures, and anyone who has been to a hospital or even a doctor's waiting room recently knows that these are desperate times when it comes to health care in Ontario.
Things are so desperate, in fact, that the concept of a two-tier health-care system and user fees are no longer catchphrases bandied about by right-wing financial magnates.
No, this week David MacKinnon, the head of the Ontario Hospital Association, said something had to be done, and the idea of user fees was at the front of the line when it came to possible solutions. We Canadians, who are very proud of our social safety nets and universal health care, may soon have to face the facts. In order to preserve a health-care system that is there for us when we really need it, and not necessarily when we want it, we may have to accept some changes.
For a country that takes great pride in its health-care system, or at least did, the idea of user fees and private clinics is enough to make our collective skin crawl. But it may be time. And if it isn't now, it soon will be.
The economic downturn may delay or prevent the infusion of cash that the health-care system was hoping for and even counting on. Our growing and aging population has increased the need for hospital services by two to three per cent annually and drugs and medical supply costs are increasing by more than 12 per cent a year.
Hospital funding and the amount of money spent on health care in Ontario is growing at twice the rate of inflation.
And more importantly, much more importantly, some people are dying while waiting to be treated.
Something needs to be done and it's time to at least think about what was once the unthinkable."

"Some people are dying while waiting to be treated", was the St. Catharines Standard's own observation (....and please note: this was in 2001: four years BEFORE the Chaoulli decision!!!)
"It's time to at least think about what was once the unthinkable", the Standard recognized!!

It may be time for user fees and private clinics, the Standard noted - although even then the paper couldn't help colour the issue with phrases like "make our collective skin crawl", pandering to the medicaristas' sensibilities. OUR skin? Whose?? The editor's?

The actual problem, ignored by the editor, which should have made his skin crawl, was that health care was itself a COLLECTIVE!

Tommy and his followers destroyed private incentive and initiative, demonized it, collectivized the business of health care, and, at the end of it all, apparently made the Standard's skin crawl.

Yes, this article was written in 2001, four years after the earlier above article in this post; and four years before Chaoulli was handed down in Quebec!!
Yet, by 2007, nothing in Ontario has changed.
The "unthinkable" was not thought about`- certainly not by the Standard... finny huh?!
The St. Catharines Standard went on to kiss local Liberal MPP Jim Bradley's ass, and happily helped Bradley and his Liberal hacks demonize 'Harris'... it's the same old story.
So Ontario's monopolist health-care status quo remains largely unchallenged (if you ignore Ontario's pending McCreith/Holmes charter challenge). Our "cruel" (according to Ontario ombudsman Andre Marin in 2007) health-care monolith, the one which buffoons such as Michael Moore today drool over, rolls on, right over patients, even letting people die on waiting lists in order to show its superiority.

The questions about health care's bizarre monopoly status in Canada have never really gone away, they've been ignored as anecdotes by a Big Brother government which Knows Better, and for years, a largely agreeable press.

'Something needs to be done; we must think the unthinkable', the Standard once realized... what did that mean?
What needed to be done?
What was unthinkable? That patients should actually have the right to buy their own health insurance, without government meddling? That the government health monopoly should face competition? That the CHA should be abolished? Is that what the Standard meant to, but couldn't actually bring itself to say, in 2001?!

The Standard is still saying in its editorial Dec.4, 2007, that the "status quo isn't working" and that "it's time for a new approach" - yet (strangely..!) at the same time, it claims it's not calling for the privatization of the health system!!
So, what IS it calling for??
This beating around the bush, like in their 2001 editorial, is making my skin crawl!
Come out and say it!
What does the Standard mean when it advocates for nebulous "sweeping change"?! Are they saying they're for patient choice to purchase their own health insurance? Are they in favour of ending the OHIP monopoly? Of allowing private parallel health care... What?!?

We can only wonder at how much better our health system would have been by now, almost 2008, had The Standard had the balls to advocate for true, clear, specific reforms back then.

Yes, yes, I know, ultimately, it is Liberal MPP Jim Bradley's job... but frankly, he and his Liberals are the problem today, and always were. We can't count on Jim Bradley to champion reforms against the failing monopoly system which he advocated and helped prop up.

Looks like Bradley and his Liberals will let the courts decide and do their job for them. The Liberals' political will to run roughshod over patients with their health monopoly is inexcusable, if not outright negligent. The Liberals are more interested in power than patients.

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