Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Consumer choice in health-care should be reclaimed

This from R. Bobak in Pulse Niagara, Jun.22, 2006:

"After reading Mike Truscello’s recent health-care info-tainment column, anyone with an ounce of curiosity about our sad medicare system should read up on the Supreme Court’s Jun.9, 2005 Chaoulli decision, which invalidated Quebec’s ban on private health insurance, and harshly criticized Canada’s sacred cow, the health-care status quo.

The only solution to health care reform that Canada’s lefties can conjure (when they’re not busy with tiresome, red-herring diatribes against U.S.-style health care) is an endless demand that more money be thrown at our socialist system – the same dysfunctional, non-competitive, no-choice, union-entrenched monopoly which, in and of itself, is the problem.

While demonizing the U.S. health care delivery model might make left-wing Canadian chauvinists feel better, it doesn’t make our system any better – we should constructively emulate other hybrid public/private models as found in the U.K., France, Scandinavia, Japan, or Germany.

The Supreme Court noted: “The experience of other Western democracies refutes the government’s theoretical contention that a prohibition on private insurance is linked to maintaining quality public health care.”

A common anti two-tier refrain is that patients will ‘buy their way to the front of the line’. As it now stands, patients die on the way to the front of the line, waiting for meagre government rationed care. The Court noted: “Access to a waiting list is not access to health care…There is unchallenged evidence that, in some serious cases, patients die as a result of waiting lists for public healthcare.”

It’s not an illusion that we continually must resort to sending Canadian victims of our medicare monopoly to the States for treatment we cannot provide at home.

A 2005 Canadian Medical Association poll determined that Canadians hold a distorted view of our health care system; consistently over-estimating how well it compares to the rest of the world.

CMA president Albert Schumacher said: “There’s a gap between how well we’re actually doing, and what Canadians think. Canadians have been shielded for too long about what the real facts are in the rest of the world. If we’re going to use our healthcare as a national identifier and take some pride in it, then I think we to examine it more carefully to make sure it actually is as good as we think.”

We need to de-construct the myths wrapped around Canada’s duplicitous health care system. Spouting homilies about snake–oil huckster Tommy Douglas and waving around union banners just doesn’t cut it anymore.

For the public good, consumer choice in health care should no longer be accursed, it should be reclaimed as our intrinsic right."

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