There were three interesting and somewhat-related stories in the St. Catharines Standard over the last several days.
The July, 4, 2008 St. Catharines Standard had a story headlined “Region to get $16M for community health care”, saying: “The provincial government announced an extra $16 million on Thursday to support community health-care programs in Niagara and surrounding regions.” The story listed varying amounts of monies, to be “delivered” by the government to the local LHIN, which was described in this story as “a non-profit corporation that works with local health providers and community members to determine the health service priorities of their region”.
Wow - the LHIN-healthcare bureaucracy just seems so wonderfully benign when it’s described this way by the “Standard Staff” writer, doesn’t it? The LHIN is just this good-hearted “non-profit” that just good-naturedly “works with” the local providers and “community members”. What community? Are they not medicare apparatchiks?
The LHIN is legislated TO FORCE health care “priorities”. The LHIN is a government apparatus, a sad child of Smitherman. Its mentioned “non-profit” status is irrelevant to this story anyway, isn’t it? (Unless you are one who nods approvingly at such things, while sneering at the concept of ‘for-profit’). The LHIN is a social-policy instrument designed, funded, and played by fiat of the Liberal government. The LHIN consists of government appointees. The LHIN protects the government from policy blowback. The LHIN is the operating scalpel of the McGuinty Liberal cabinet’s medicare ideology.
Let’s look at the way the word “extra” is used in this news-story, preceding the dollar figure.
“Extra” from/in-addition-to what?? From an under-funded, lowball, barebones budget allocation made initially somewhere in the Liberal bowels of Queen’s Park; at some Liberal central-planning-is-best medicare-pushing apparatchik’s desk?
In a health-care MONOPOLY, legislated by McGuinty’s Liberals, what exactly is the definition of “extra”? When it is illegal by Liberal law for Ontarians to provide for their own health-care funding, what parameters are the Liberals, and the media, using when descriptors such as “extra” are being used? How is it "extra"?!
Is this funding that otherwise would NOT have been provided? (and why, then, not? Because the central-planner-geniuses didn’t allow for budget contingencies? Because the Liberals are rolling in a lot of “Health-Tax’ dough, and need to get rid of it on unplanned (!) efforts, the efficacy of which conveniently don’t fall under Ombudsman scrutiny?)
Is it a way for the politicians to ingratiate themselves into the psyche of their voters: ‘look, oh all ye of our fair realm, how we Liberals have magnanimously bestowed upon the health-system all this "extra" money. By the way, this “extra” money, we have generously deemed, is good for a- our re-election brochures a couple of years hence, and b- it shows we can spend your tax-dollars as we deem fit. Do not ask whether this money is wisely spent; just humbly know and be thankful that we, glorious Liberals, are here to spend it for you, so that your system may live forever!’ For some reason, we're never explicitly told when 'it's not enough' funding, until the Liberals graciously bestow upon us the bonus of "extra". Is it ever 'enough' ?! Isn't it all "extra"! Isn't it a political matter of making these distinctions only when its politically favourable for politicians to do so?
In a related story, the next day, on July 5, 2008, the St. Catharines Standard carried a story which ties into the government healthcare funding sleight-of-hand I mention above. This story was titled “Psychology for $400, please”, by Michael S. Rosenwald.
The story described how prices are planned (“engineered”, as it’s now known!) for psychological impact to affect consumer behaviour.
Examples were given such as the considered setting of restaurant menu prices, with several extremely high and low entree prices, together with some mid-range choices: the mid-range choices would sell better.
Also described were situations (or “pricing tricks”, as Rosenwald writes) such as that initially-high set prices determine a consumer’s “reference” or “anchoring” point’, which, when the price drops, makes the purchasing consumer believe he has made a wise decision, that he ‘perceives’ having obtained deal.
“Richard Thaler, a University of Chicago economist… came up with the notion of transaction utility, which he has described as “the difference between the amount paid and the ‘reference price’ for the good, that is, the regular price that the consumer expects to pay for this product.” But there are trade-offs, Thaler notes, in incidental, or not quite hidden, but associated costs, down the road, “thus wiping out any gains, real or psychological”. “Thaler said we tend to “underweight” these costs because they are off in the future.”
So what do these two stories in the St. Catharines Standard, one after the next, have in common? I guess if you hate markets and choice, then you might well be politically predisposed to believing that all corporate marketing – and pricing – is inherently evil, that it’s all fundamentally ‘pricing trickery’, and therefore that it all must be controlled by the government.
And isn’t this the underlying philosophy as well, behind the "engineered" concept of medicare? Wasn’t old socialist Tommy Douglas one of these central-planning-is-best believers - the market be damned, we will set and control and rule the market by legislating a ban on payer and provider health-care choices?
Does anyone believe we have found “transactional utility” in Ontario’s health-care monopoly? That is, even if this concept could even be made to apply to a closed, Marxist-style government monopoly construct? The government relies on the “perceived” benefits to somehow be disassociated from the actual costs - this is the great unsubstantiated myth which surrounds medicare. ‘Yes, yes, yes…we've told, you - you’re covered … so now, go back in line and wait. Stop pestering us with your perceptions of value … you individuals gave that privilege up to Tommy Douglas's collectivists years ago!!’ The government relies on continuous, grand “extra” funding announcements to maintain the perception that it is ‘keeping up with problems’ (never of its own making, naturally!) and continually inserts itself as a heroic saviour by providing strategic “extra” funding solutions where and when politically advantageous … a great political perpetual-motion machine!
What did we expect to get – for the price of having the government subjugate our right to provide for our individual health-care choices?
Here's the third related story to that subject, titled “Surgery wait riles patient’s family’ (St. Catharines Standard, July 4, 2008) which described the circumstances of 67 year old Cecile Boudreau who shattered her pelvis while she was a passenger in a lurching city bus. She had to wait over 72 hours in the St. Catharines General Hospital before she could finally obtain an operation. The hospital said such waits are the norm across Ontario.
This is ‘normal’?
‘Normal’ compared to what – the rest of the Liberal-run health-care policy-laboratory called Ontario?!
Why isn’t anyone asking whether this is acceptable, rather than accepting that it is ‘normal’; rather than just sloughing it off to ‘oh, well, that’s just how it is in Ontario”? We can't do better?
(And - is it actually ‘normal’, as the NHS claims, to have your operation three days later in other areas of Ontario? In a similar incident - over a national holiday, no less - would that really have been the case in Toronto, or in Hamilton? What about in Buffalo, or does that not count as a comparison?)
Is this an example of how accepted “transactional utility” has become in the Ontario health-care consumer’s psyche?! That we just accept such tradeoffs as ‘normal’, that we are resigned - if not trained - not to demand better ??
Astoundingly, this is what the injured lady’s daughter Linda Rogers said in the Standard about the ordeal:
“I’m not out to get any doctors or nurses in trouble. I’m just trying to raise awareness of how badly we need some government interference in this sad medical system we have”.
What? Read that again...! What is to be made of this comment? We need MORE “government interference” … what, as if the interference already caused by the Liberals over the last five years is NOT ENOUGH?
Or, was she trying to say we need more interference INTO the government's handling of medicare??! Such as perhaps...oversight from the Ombudsman's office? But, if so, why call that "interference" ??
Did the Liberal’s medicare ideology, as found in their 2004 “Commitment to the Future of Medicare”, not directly contribute to the “sad medical system we have” today; the same sad Liberal-run system that told Boudreau it’s normal to suffer and wait three days after an accident for an operation?
This is the price we are forced to pay for Liberal medicare! These are the ‘tradeoffs’ for being forced into believing the charade of universal, government-run, single-payer health-care, the kind pushed by the likes of St. Catharines MPP, Liberal Jim Bradley. (See:Liberal Healthcare Duplicity, An Ontario Overview 2003-2007)
What exactly was St. Catharines Liberal MPP Jim Bradley’s reaction to this situation in his own city’s hospital? Well, none, as far as can be seen, because Good Ole Jim Bradley wasn’t mentioned in the story! Our Stealth MPP, the elusive Jim Bradley, once again, strangely sits silent while patients in his riding suffer in his health-care monopoly. After all: these are just normal problems; anomalies, obscure incidents, minor inconveniences compared to the Grandeur That Is Liberal Medicare! Just trust the Liberals, they will soon find another “extra” funding announcement to distract us!
Just don’t ask Jim Bradley why his Liberal government is hiding from allowing the Ombudsman to investigate their health-care monopoly. Don’t ask whether there is a systemic link in the Liberal’s health-monopoly which makes three-day surgery waits like Boudreau’s to be “perceived” as “normal”.
Yep, Liberal Jim Bradley, the pompous, grand champion of ‘anti-American-style health-care’, cannot be found to comment on his Liberal-style health-care’s failings. Bradley and his Liberals hide from scrutiny like cockroaches scurrying from the light; the Liberals are afraid to allow the Ombudsman to shine the light of scrutiny upon them.
And sadly, in the meantime, Ontarians have no competition, no other choices to turn to.
Michael S. Rosenwald’s story, mentioned earlier, can also be utilized to examine consumer behaviour in a no-patient-payer-choice-by-legislated-government-fiat health-care system.
Funny that Rosenwald’s story doesn’t quite explain what happens if you go to ANOTHER restaurant and check THEIR competitive pricing (you have to read the book, I guess!). The assumption one needs to willingly believe/swallow is that all competitors are in a planned, nefarious conspiracy to fix prices, which then only a populist government, interfering with individual rights, can 'fix' for the supposed ‘betterment-of-all’! (Remember, for example, St. Catharines MPP Liberal Jim Bradley ragging on about ‘gasoline price fixing’ when he was in opposition?! See: Jim Bradley's criticisms in opposition foreshadowed duplicity in government)
Health care is “free” in Canada (!), or so Michael Moore-ish Sickos preach and lead others to believe (just don’t ask about taxes). This is their “perception”! And what of the trade-offs in the future, the associated costs down the road?? Well, the medicaristas are counting on the consumer to politically “underweigh” those very real medical risks!! This is what happens when lefties want to make decisions for you on your behalf, for ‘your own good’! DO NOT MENTION the associated waiting-lists, shortages, new central-planning fixes for old central-planning blunders, the resultant unaccountability of anyone for anything down the road … this aspect of single-payer, universal health-care is not broached when the medicaristas are making their pitches! Do not ask what eventually is “perceived” to be “normal” under a medicarista-run monopoly! There is no “trickery” when it comes to single-payer health-care, is there?!
Our local Liberal Jim Bradley made a lot of noise in the past, agitating for political power, by condemning his pet boogey-man, 'U.S. style health-care'; yet what responsibility does Jim Bradley now shoulder when hundreds of C. Diff patients have been found to have died in his secretive, no-choice health monster; a situation which possibly could have been reduced or avoided had Bradley’s ‘non-U.S Style’ (!) system been accountable to patients, and not just for perpetuating itself?
Conveniently (for Liberals) there is no market mechanism to challenge the Liberal government-run health monopoly’s standards, practices, funding decisions, or 'value-received-for money-spent' comparisons. Conveniently, the Liberals prevent any oversight, such as from the Ombudsman’s office, from investigating their health-care actions.
Questioning such things is anti-Canadian, anti-Tommy Douglas, anti central-planning heresy.
How dare we have the unmitigated audacity to ask Jim Bradley and his Liberals to stand to account for their health-monopoly’s performance?!
How dare we even ask whether the question is even 'value-received-for-money-spent' anymore, anyway – that would apply if you are talking about a government that understands the enormity of its responsibility when it decides to ban an individual’s health-care choices by maintaining a legislated monopoly.
They just don’t get that TRUST has to be there! This medicare monopoly is only as good as the belief that it would do what was promised – and it is not doing that at all. The McCreith/Holmes constitutional court challenge against McGuinty's Liberal government health monopoly is an indication of this.
The question now should be 'what is the value-PERCEIVED-for-the-money-spent'? How, or why, should we trust the government anymore with such an important individual liberty as health-care? They have pandered to us the PERCEPTION that only a health-care monopoly will be our saviour, our mythical heaven on earth. They FIXED (manipulated!) the competitive nature of the health-care 'market', because competition was distasteful (not to mention disruptive!) to the socialist tenets underpinning their grand supply/demand-fixing scheme.
Yet, when it fails, suddenly Jim Bradley is no-where to be found! He is unavailable to drone on about his Liberal health-care duplicity. James J. Bradley and the other Liberal McGuintyites have retreated into their ideological shells. No questions need be answered. All you need to do is trust the Liberals. You need no substantiation.
This is not just a "sad medical system" we have, it’s an "extra" sad Liberal government which perpetuates it; it’s a sad, secretive Liberal government where the word ‘normal’ is synonymous with barely-acceptable; where an Ombudsman's scrutiny, when patients need it most, is suppressed by frightened Liberals.