Monday, February 9, 2009

Niagara should opt of OHIP, declare a medicare-monopoly-free zone

Several good health-care related letters appeared recently in our local papers: Lynn McCleary wrote in "Cutting nurses will not improve care provided by the NHS", (St. Catharines Standard, Feb.9, 2009):
"Re: NHS cutting 90 jobs,The Standard, Feb. 4.
As an RN, I am disappointed with the Niagara Health System decision to eliminate 50 nursing positions.
It is understandable that with 75 vacant positions, eliminating nursing positions may seem like an easy solution to the budget crunch. The explanation that nurses will not lose jobs, rather they will fill vacant positions or take early retirement, may be reassuring to nurses who work at the NHS but it does not reassure me that quality health-care services can be maintained in the long term -- or costs decreased in the short term.
Eliminating positions does not eliminate work. If the NHS follows other hospitals down this path, the work will be done by existing nurses at overtime rates, increasing costs. In the long term, eliminating positions threatens the nursing workforce. The health-care system is at risk because 24,000 Ontario RNs are aged 55 or older, poised to retire.
The 75 vacant positions in Niagara are an indication of things to come, when we may not be able to fill vacancies created by retiring nurses. Just when hospitals like ours in Niagara need strong leadership from the provincial government to ensure an adequate supply of nurses, what we get is provincial backtracking on commitments to create new nursing positions and pressure to balance budgets by paying the price with bigger problems down the line.
Hospitals are being forced by the province into penny wise, pound foolish actions. We should be encouraging nurses to keep working, not encouraging early retirement.
Even in tough economic times, we need to chose to support the healthcare system by ensuring an adequate nursing workforce."


Let's remember (because McCleary doesn't bother to mention it) that it is a Liberal government which is cutting nurses in Niagara, and which also recently cut 50 million dollars from provincial nurse training!

Have we forgotten how, during the Oct.2008 federal election, certain folks, along with a more-than-willing press, got outrageously indignant about federal arts funding, where $45 million was re-allotted throughout Canada? Yes, an unreal brouhaha was made over that; yet, when Ontario's Liberal liars over at McGuinty and Co. cut $50 million (and that's only in Ontario) of promised nurse funding from their failing health-monopoly
- no-one cared!!!

Good Ole Jim Bradley, St. Catharines Liberal MPP, and proud health-care monopolist-hypocrite, spent years making allegations about so-called Harris cuts, yet, it's Jimbo's own Liberals who are blatantly cutting health-care.

They are using the same old 'we-are-cutting-health-care-to-save-health-care' rhetoric which Michael Decter, Bob Rae's NDP deputy health-minister, used during Ontario's Great Socialist Darkness of the early 1990's.

This is an incomprehensible, ideologically-based conceptual contradiction: oxymoronic limited universality in tandem with a needlessly oppressive (to the point of being cruel) prohibition on private health-care, all enforced by the single-payer-monopoly-pushing state.
It's a mockery of its own intent; a false image of unaccountable promises painted with irresponsible rhetoric.

McCleary talks about "provincial backtracking"... isn't that a euphemism for the McGuinty/Caplan/Bradley gang's Liberal LIES?

Peter Genovese wrote in "We should expect more from our health system, (St. Catharines Standard, Feb.9, 2009): "Re:160 on waiting list for home care, The Standard, Jan. 29
This article has brought up several important points regarding home-care services. The Community Care Access Centre has seen a steady increase in need for home-care services and the current fiscal year's budget can't properly fund this need.
To prevent running a deficit, a waiting list has been created, currently at 163 clients in Niagara. What will the waiting list be by March 31, the end of the fiscal year? And will this problem not compound in the next fiscal year if funding is inadequate for the service demand?
The clients who are on the waiting list are deemed low priority -- they are not surgical (hip/knee replacements). They are still clients who require exercise, balance re-training, gait aid assessments, safety assessments, home adaptive equipment assessment, etc.
How many clients on the waiting list will have to be admitted to or re-admitted to hospital due to a decrease in health status that may result from not receiving home care? What cost do these clients potentially pose to the health system?
Since the Liberal provincial government has been in power, it has raised our taxes (health-care tax) and has increased the annual health spending to about 50 per cent of the total Ontario budget. But we have waiting lists for home care, the eventual downgrading of the emergency rooms in Fort Erie and Port Colborne and many issues in this region regarding the state of our healthcare system.
We should expect more from the way our health care is funded and managed. We need to demand this from our government before the current situation turns into a health-care crisis."


Taxes up, service down; yet patient-pawns trapped in McGuinty's health-care monopoly have no choice.

Liberals are happy. "Look at us, we are spending..." they will graciously point out, "...on your behalf! We are taxing and spending - on your behalf! We are cutting, on your behalf, to save us from having to spend more..." The logic becomes convoluted and murky.

Liberal MPP Jim Bradley can't be bothered to explain his own health monopoly's failures. Will he bother to answer Genovese's questions? Bradley continues plodding on the same old failing socialist monopoly course. It is a failing Liberal fantasy that only a BIG STATE GOVERNMENT MONOPOLY knows best how to mimic the real health-care choices of a free-market.

Ontario's Liberals didn't bother to respond to Niagara concerns about Niagara's ER/bed shortage issue: two years ago (in the St. Catharines Standard, Sept.30, 2006) Dalton McGuinty himself dismissed that his Liberals would do much about it - see: Jim "Crackpot" Bradley's Liberal realism.

Genovese's concerns might have been different now had McGuinty and Bradley got off their butts two years ago and actually did something other than make soothing, grandiose 'Big Brother' rhetorical health-care pronouncements, without substance or any attached responsibility. Hey - SO WHAT if some patient dies waiting in a McGuinty-underfunded ER, or sits all day in an unchanged diaper in a Liberal underfunded nursing home? McGuinty is held harmless! MPP Jim Bradley, unbelievably, suddenly has nothing to do with health-care!!

Pat Scholfield wrote in "NHS helped create problem with ALC patient overload", (Niagara This Week, Feb.6, 2009):
"In response to the article in The Leader that stated a new report adds weight to the argument by the Niagara Health System that people who have no business being in a hospital are clogging up chronic care beds which leads to lengthy delays in getting treated at hospital emergency rooms:
Does the NHS leadership remember several times over the past few years they have reduced beds as a cost saving measure, while at the same time telling us it would not affect service?
On March 29, 2006, former NHS chair Paul Leon told us bed closures don't mean service reductions. This article notes a year ago the health system originally targeted 60 beds for closure at its three largest hospitals throughout Niagara as part of its plans to cut $19 million in spending. "The standards are being maintained. No services are being cut and we're going to meet our targeted balanced budget by 2007," Leon said.
Around the same time, recently resigned NHS Chief of Staff Dr. William Schragge stated, "Beds do not equal service. The number of inpatient beds is no longer an accurate reading of health-care delivery. In fact, we have seen an overall increase in health-care delivery with 60 fewer beds across the system."
Why is the NHS closing hospital beds until we find a workable solution for these alternate level of care patients, especially when the ALC patients across Niagara are nearly double the provincial average and when bed shortage is such a huge problem?
To a layman like myself, it appears the NHS has implemented bed closing measures which have helped to create the ER backlog monster we are currently experiencing in Niagara."

... and you know, if you ask Liberal MPP Jim Bradley (who's not a layman, he's a long-time Liberal supporter of state-run monopoly health-care) these questions, a smug Bradley won't bother to answer them! Yet his Liberals have been running the show for five years!

Margaret Ferland wrote in "Why do we need centres of excellence?" (Niagara This Week, Feb.6, 2009):

"The Niagara Health System's problems and plans are becoming a major problem for taxpayers.
The NHS would like us to believe we are going to benefit from the centres of excellence for ophthalmology and urology. The fact is Welland has always had excellent ophthalmologists and urologists on staff, and that was never a problem.
Why do we need a centre of excellence? To entice people from other areas?
The fact is we need services we use on a daily basis, like pediatrics, obstetrics and psychiatry, which the NHS has so generously given to St. Catharines. We are expected to share the taxes for this, and to add insult to injury, it is contingent upon a transit system being built and maintained in seven municipalities.
The NHS is going to have to do more than hire a couple of public relations experts and a few full-page ads in the local newspapers to convince the taxpayers that this is cost-effective, let alone makes any common sense."

Common-sense... oh, now there's a phrase that Liberal hack Jim Bradley just loves to deride! Bradley's Liberals don't understand common-sense; it's all bans and statism with these clowns. Bradley's Liberals are hiding from independent scrutiny of their health-care monopoly, and, of their accompanying claims regarding its performance. There is no transparent oversight in this rat's nest of ideological heath-care Liberalism gone wildly askew. Bizarrely, now somehow the spectre of "public transit" (another black-hole for public funds) is entering the hospital-cuts debate; this when Good Ole Jim Bradley, Mr. GO-PROMISER (and, now the Transportation Minister, for cryin' out loud) has done done flicking NOTHING regarding GO train service to Niagara! (Because, strangely, that TOO is contingent upon some ephemeral prerequisite regional system... and on it goes... a perennial, eternal make-work project, keeping earnest, eager Liberal statists busily planning to fix the problems created by earlier eager, earnest Liberal statists...)

Anne Kranics wrote in "The bottom line for Fort Erie residents" (Niagara This Week, Feb.6, 2009):

"As you sit in your offices and homes with the full knowledge that you are safe and within life and death help may I remind you of our bottom line:
1. We had a well run hospital with the services that met our needs and ran in the black.
2. You (Phantoms from the government, LHIN. NHS, HIP etc.) stripped our hospital to meet your needs without consultation or notification to the taxpayers.
3. These powers that be continued on the path of meetings to decide our fate without acceptable feedback to the public.
4. After the unfair removal of equipment and services we were told that we've been functioning like this for a long time. No kidding, what choice did we have?
5. Since we have left things in your hands , you have decimated our life line and now are saying "See, you don't have what's necessary to be a hospital so we'll have to take that designation away!!" Please, do not do that!
6.The new St. Catharines hospital will not meet our needs for reasons given many times over.
7. Dr. Kitts, has not been as generous to our community as he has to his own and Mr. McGuinty's - as they have hospitals in their areas - how far is Mr. Caplan from his hospital? You know that Fort Erie is at the end of the line and we have taken care of ourselves nicely.
These people do not live here and will not suffer the consequences of shutting our hospital down! Being touted an expert and telling others what's good for them without having to live in the environment they create is barbaric and uncivilized!
8. Our lives are in your hands and you are responsible for your decisions.You are at a point that you can do the civilized thing and keep our hospital open! We are at your mercy and ask you to do the right the right thing. Do not leave us with nothing. We deserve better!"


I ask what St. Catharines MPP Liberal Jim Bradley has to say in response to Ms. Kranics? Apparently, Good Ole Jim doesn't feel it is necessary for him to respond to public questions about the blowback to residents and to patients of his Liberal-government-monopoly's high-handed health-care edicts.
And, hey, who cares about Fort Erie, anyhow, that's Liberal MPP Kim Craitor's embarrassing political pickle, isn't it? Bradley can smugly leave himself out of it!
Health Minister David Caplan couldn't give a hoot either, as we've just recently seen. Maybe the Great Lying McGuinty will come calling to Fort Erie for votes, just before the next election!!

Remember how a smirking McGuinty turned and walked away from that cancer patient - Mike Brady - during the 2007 Ontario election campaign, disputing the man's claim that McGuinty wasn't doing enough for him?!
Yeah, well, McGuinty's doing the same walk-away from Fort Erie today. Tomorrow, it'll be a hospital near you. And there is nowhere else to turn to in this Liberal single-payer health-care monopoly.
This is not a red-herring question about WHERE a hospital is; this is an elemental question about WHAT our "hospital system" "is".
Niagara's mayors, the councillors, the Region... who has done anything to successfully challenge the Liberals' slickly-named "centres of excellence" health-care cutbacks? They've all hit the McGuinty ideological wall. It's out of our jurisdiction, they say.
(Maybe the Regional government, with the support of Niagara's mayors, can challenge McGuinty's demogogic monopolistic health-care practices - but fat chance of that, because a lot of Niagara's mayors are loyal Liberal hacks, as well - all part of the same problem...).
How about declaring Niagara a medicare-free zone?
Let a bankrupt, deficit-ridden McGuinty try to shut that down.
Encourage private medical investment.
Fight Liberal Healthcare Duplicity.
Declare the intention that Niagara will secede from sole reliance on McGuinty's OHIP health-monopoly, and will pursue its own health care policy, and that in the interim, Niagarans should be refunded their health-care expenses directly from the federal government, thereby correspondingly not allowing it to reach McGuinty's mitts. That is the only message McGuintyites will understand, when they are deprived of expected health-care money which they assume is theirs.
If Niagara is to be callously used by McGuinty as a test-case for his monopoly cuts, Niagara should respond by declaring this area an OHIP-free test zone, and by asking the federal government for emergency protection from the McGuinty majority-government's health schemes.
McGuinty should not possess carte-blanche access to our health-care dollars. Niagara Region could negotiate a health care plan under different scenarios on behalf of some 450,000 people with other invited providers; anything which forced McGuintyite monopolists to have no choice but compete for their own funding, or else be deprived of health-cash, would be a good thing. Utilize the expertise of neighbouring Buffalo health care facilities. Niagara could create and fund its own insurance plan; not, though, as just another freshly-minted replicant mini-monopoly, but as an open option, patient payer/provider choice system.
It is acknowledged that health care is not free.
Let consumers - not presumptive McGuintyites [or yellow-shirted socialist NDPeer's] - decide how to spend their own health dollars. Niagarans should be allowed to opt out of the McGuinty government's monopoly-health schemes.
Given that the McCreith/Holmes health-care charter case against McGuinty's Ontario Liberals is still looming at the Supreme Court, now is the time to seriously consider implementing an honest, fair, realistic health strategy that does not leave the participant-resident-patient-stakeholders at the mercy of evasive, statist, bait-and-switch McGuinty-monopolist promises. A hybrid approach might as well be tried here, in an orderly manner.
We deserve better than to be reduced to pleading - as Kranics sadly does - with these deaf, arrogant Liberals. (And when U.S. President Obama visits Canada, let him take into consideration the damage that socialized state-run monopoly medicine has done in Ontario. Americans shouldn't covet Canada's failing universal-health-care system. There are certainly other templates better than Ontario's to look at.)
It's time to draw a line in the sand over the Liberal's sacrificial abandonment of Fort Erie.
Let's fast forward to Nov.17, 2014 - I was listening to the Jim Richards Showgram on Toronto's NewsTalk 1010 (the old CFRB), where host Jimberley was interviewing a guest, Dr. Brett Belchetz, regarding the shortage of medical pathologists on Ontario.
It was a great interview, and I wish that I could find a link to it on the NewsTalk 1010 website, or to this Nov.17th afternoon podcast, but it was not listed on the Showgram's web page. It would be an interesting interview for folks to listen to.
Amongst the topics discussed, I recall the doctor mentioning a recent Commonwealth Fund study, which rated Canada's health system as the SECOND WORST in the developed (not 'developing'!) world... and him mentioning that for Canadians, or Ontarians, going to nearby American cities such as Buffalo was certainly an option to get faster biopsy results... again: this is the same stuff I had written about in Liberal Health Care Duplicity SEVEN years ago!!! It's like the health care disaster in Ontario created by monopoly-pushing hacks such as St.Catharines MPP Jim Bradley and his Liberals has no end of horror.
There's an excellent article (one of many) by Dr. Brett Belchetz in the Huffington Post, Jun.27, 2014.
To top it off, I was watching TVO on Nov.24, 2014, in the evening, and who was there as a panelist but another ghoul from the past: old Michael 'Rae Day' Decter, the pathetic former deputy health minister - and HEALTH CARE CUTTER - under socialist Ontario premier Bob Rae. To believe that this piece of work still prattles his tales twenty years after the horrors which he and Rae's NDP perpetrated, is sickening.  

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