Friday, January 11, 2008

Health-care: competition; Medicare: protectionism and monopoly

The National Post had a number of reader’s letters on Jan.10, 2007, regarding their Jan.8 editorial on Canada's doctor shortage.

In “What’s wrong with health care? Four MDs respond”, Dr. Graham Berlyne wrote:
The hypothesis in your editorial that what is condescendingly called “socialized medicine’ is somehow responsible for the physician shortage in Canada - and that by dismantlement will somehow cure this shortfall – is very difficult to believe."

Does this doc have a problem with dismantling a health monopoly that interferes with an individual’s right to choose how to pay for health services?
If Berlyne wants to work in a medicare-only system, he can stay in the public system. Others (patients and physicians) who don’t, can go to a private-parallel system. It’s Berlyne’s choice to do what he wants, but it isn’t Berlyne’s choice to stop others from choosing what they wish to do. Who is he to impose his superior morality on others? A public system must recognize the right of the individual, not subjugate the individual within a failing monopoly brimming with supposedly good-intentions.

Also, is Berlyne himself condescendingly intimating that Canadian medicare is NOT socialized? What, then, is a single-payer, government-run monopoly health system?!
I’m seeing more lefties starting to spout this deceptive meme, pretending that the socialized single-payer health care system which Canada has had for 40 years, was not really socialized health care, that it was something else!!
So now, they will logically say, if we only had real socialized health care, instead of the socialized healthcare which for the last 40 years we really didn’t have, then... ...  really, my head hurts at this Brave New world/Animal Farm style revisionism.

If Berlyne thinks the State - through its single-payer socialized control of health care - had no hand in the doctor shortage in the early 1990’s, he’s mistaken.
Berlyne only has to talk to then-NDP (now Liberal) Bob Rae, or Rae's then-Deputy Health Minister, Michael Decter. They cut med school enrolments, based on their facile interpretation of the Barer-Stoddart [BS] report. The State - the single-payer – suddenly felt it wanted to control health-care costs by getting rid of older doctors (early retirement), limiting billing hours on current MDs, and cutting back on new med school enrolments. They seriously thought that having too many doctors was actually a problem!

There are many newspaper articles in the 1991-1993 period chronicling and attesting to this state-instigated phenomenon in Ontario; for example:
“ ‘Drastic' steps pending to cut number of MDS in metro area” (Toronto Star, by Lisa Priest, Oct.24, 1992)
“Tough medicine: UT med school cuts enrolment” (The Hamilton Spectator, by Suzanne Morrison, Feb.19, 1993)
“Battered MDs now being told how many can practices” (Toronto Star, by Lisa Priest, Mar.3, 1993)
“Over-65 MDs blamed for cuts. Should retire official says” (The Hamilton Spectator, May 26, 1993)

Dr. Roy Eappen and Dr. Darryl D. LaBuick , who also wrote letters in the National Post, Jan.10, 2008, were correct when they said the CMA warned about the repercussions of these government-run-interventionist moves at that time.

Berlyne says “I would bet my Ontario Health Premium that privatization won’t help a jot.” A “jot”? Is that more, or less, than a lot? Given his handsome state-paid salary, why is Berlyne only betting $900.00 from his health TAX ? (Berlyne knows, doesn’t he, that it was not, as he says, a “premium” at all. That word was condescendingly used by Ontario’s Liberals to deceive the electorate.)
So, doc, use the proper definition of what it was: a Liberal-created health TAX. Cut your Liberal politically-correct DoubleSpeak.

Berlyne concludes that privatization won’t help a jot/lot - as if the Chaoulli court case never happened in Quebec (!)... but, what if did help a “BIT”?
What if it helped “SOME’?
Would that not be worth trying, Dr. Berlyne?
Or do we condescendingly dismiss the whole idea, regardless? Berlyne’s status–quo arguments remind me of the same kind of defense Ted Marmor used, without success, to defend Quebec’s health-care charter infringements in 2005’s Chaoulli case.

If you want health-care, you need competition. If you want medicare, you want protectionism and monopoly.

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