Sunday, December 30, 2007

Health system reform: Still waiting for Jim Bradley to reply

I sent this letter to St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley Sept. 20, 2006 (to which Mr. Bradley still hasn't replied):

"I would like to bring to your attention the following healthcare-related articles:

-The St. Catharines Standard’s Aug. 26, 2006 editorial “Finding sustainable
health-care solutions” and cartoon of C.M.A. logo

-My Sept. 6, 2006 St. Catharines Standard letter, “Consumers have a right to
choice in healthcare”

-John Turley-Ewart’s Sept. 9, 2006 National Post column, “Where’s the debate on medicare?”

-Keith Martin’s Sept. 16, 2006 National Post column, “Four ways to fix healthcare.”

-My essay "Liberal Healthcare Duplicity "

Having continuously served St. Catharines almost 30 years, through the rule of three parties and several governments, you are at an enviable and unique position in the mature years of your political career.

With little to lose, you have before you a true non-partisan opportunity to boldly and sincerely question the efficacy of, and chart true reforms to, both the Canada Health Act and your own Bill 8, the Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act.

Given Quebec’s Chaoulli decision; given rulings emanating from the Ontario Health Services Appeal and Review Board; given numerous quotes in my essay from our health monopoly’s victims - there is a historic chance for a Liberal with your ‘gravitas’ in the Legislature, with your respected stature and political capital, to truly tackle this issue and redeem your party.

Perhaps you can truly lead Ontario (and consequently our country) to that missing health-care debate, to that recognition of the practical inadequacy of socialized medicine, and the moral futility of perpetuating its defense.

You could earn the legacy of bravely and honestly superceding the well-intentioned but demonstrable failure of Tommy Douglas-style socialism, as well as pre-empting the inevitability of a court-imposed Chaoulli-style decision in Ontario.

The above articles express the common sentiment that healthcare reform is desperately needed and the rhetoric must stop. Liberal MP Dr. Keith Martin’s sensible, pro-active article acknowledges the private sector’s role in healthcare - how about bringing attention to his ideas by reading his column into the record at Queen’s Park? You could signal, well before the heat of the next election, that a non-partisan debate may truly be at hand.

Ontario’s Health Minister Mr. Smitherman shamefully disparaged not only Canada’s doctors, but also Mr. Tony Clement and Mr. Brian Day, as well as Quebec, Alberta, and Dr. Martin’s home province, British Columbia, with his ridiculous Sept. 11th “You’re either ‘wid us’ or ‘agin us.’” speech.

We can only hope there’s a cabinet shuffle on the horizon, because it’s becoming clear Mr. Smitherman’s own confrontational rhetoric is a “grave threat” to our health-care system.

Ontario needs to openly carry forward the health-care reform debate, not maintain the unsustainable status quo.

Could you be the one Liberal willing and able to bring forth this realistic, overdue debate to the forefront at Queen’s Park? The charade cannot continue."

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