Sunday, January 6, 2008

Promised medicare: pre-paid illusion

Further to my earlier Oct. 17, 2007 post, Another Canadian patient forced to U.S. for treatment due to long Ontario wait lists, here is a subsequent thread of letters on the issue of the Shona Holmes health-care Charter challenge against the Ontario government.

John Shaw wrote in “Health care is too important to ration”, (National Post, Sept.7, 2007):

“I find the hypocrisy of Doris Grinspun, executive director of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, offensive and typical of the reaction of bureaucrats when faced with the real-world effects of a failed ideology run amok.
People are dying prematurely due to the current rationing of health care in Canada, but she equates the attempts to minimize the impact of the worst excesses with preying on the vulnerabilities of patients to further an "ideological agenda." There can be no more purely ideological agenda than the one she supports.
A government does not have to own every food store to help the poor eat. The same applies to health care. The free market is effective, monopolies are not. A monopoly on the supply of a service can only be seen as an egalitarian ideological agenda. Health care is too important to ration and we are all suffering under second- tier health care.”
Gerry Vance wrote in the National Post (Sept.7, 2007):

“Re: Lawsuit Challenges Ban On Private Care, Sept. 6.
I agree private clinics should be allowed in Canada as they will improve on our health care system. Shona Holmes did the right thing by suing the Ontario government, demanding that it strike down its ban on private medicine, private MRI clinics and private health insurance.
However, I would correct one very important point not clearly articulated in the article; the medical attention and treatment given to Canadians is not free. In fact we pay for health care through our exorbitantly high taxes and yearly premiums. Actually we prepay for our health care and the service is due to us when we require medical attention and we should never forget that.”

Hilda Swirsky wrote in “Proof that two-tier care doesn't work”, (National Post, Sept.10, 2007):
“Re: Health Care Is Too Important To Ration, letter to the editor, Sept. 9.[sic.]
It is deceptively alluring to believe that two-tier health care is a panacea that would solve all our problems. However, if letter-writer John Shaw wants compelling evidence of a failed ideology run amok, he should see Michael Moore's movie Sicko and listen to the health care horror stories of nurses who have left the U.S. and other countries that rely on private medicine.”

Judy Greenwood-Speers, RN, Green Party Health Advocate, Waterloo, Ont, wrote in “Greens support public health care”, (National Post, Sept.11, 2007):

“Re: Health Care Is Too Important To Ration, Letter To The Editor, Sept. 7.

I'd like to offer a reality check in response to John Shaw's letter opposing the postion of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) against private health care.
Paying for private health care does not create new doctors, but does help to drain them away from the public system, as they can earn more money by still billing for the OHIP-covered services as well as collecting as much as the market will bear in additional fees. As well, private care will help to ensure those who cannot pay will wait even longer, while those who can will jump to the front of the line. This is not part of our Canadian health ethics.
My family understands wait times, as my husband has had eye issues -- first a detached retina that required immediate and timely surgery, which he got. More recently, he was blinded from another cause for three months. When the local doctor's office finally got the referral to the specialist in London, Ont., the surgery was done well and quickly with great results. How long would we have waited in the U.S. if we did not have coverage? I shudder to think if we could have ever afforded the specialized surgery required.
The Green Party supports publicly funded, publicly accountable, publicly delivered health care. As a registered nurse, I also agree with the RNAO on this position because I know it to be in the best interest of sustaining our health care services. We can make it better, but not by increasing profits.”
Moore's Sicko propaganda proves a failure in its attempt to glorify the single-tier monopoly health system as found in Ontario since 2004. It was Liberal health care ideology 'run amok' in Liberal Ontario which threatened Shona Holmes and became the basis of her legal challenge. Simply put, Liberal promises could not be backed up with required action. And to the left's chagrin, the U.S. was able to treat Holmes when Ontario's facsimile of a system could not. Swirsky might have to bring herself to acknowledge that Ontario's single-payer monopoly failed Holmes. As well, Swirsky can peddle her own alluringly deceptive, authoritarian ideology, but not to the extent of forcing everyone into her one-size-fits-all, unrealistic, demonstrably failing system. I shudder to think of the patient misery that would ensue within Ontario if the ghoulish, clueless Green posturing of Greenwood-Speers' letter is any indication. She even actually trotted out the old chest-beating, flag-draping, Tommy-Douglas-invoking nationalist chestnut of "Canadian health ethics" in order to justify why she thinks it is ethical to deny patients health-care payer and provider options! Let her idol Elizabeth May and Jack Layton out-pious each other on this one.

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