Nadeem Ismail wrote in "Wait times too long", (Windsor Star, Nov.23, 2009, here):
"News reports from across the country recently highlighted the plight of thousands of Canadians lining up and waiting for H1N1 vaccinations while politicians of all stripes cast about for someone to take the blame.
Meanwhile, wait times for medically necessary health services across Canada continue to remain unnecessarily high, but you'll find few politicians willing to discuss this issue in a realistic manner.
The Fraser Institute's annual survey of hospital waiting lists released this month showed that total wait time in 2009 is still 73 per cent longer than it was back in 1993, despite the fact that health spending per person has increased by 41 per cent since then. Simply put, the public health care system is still failing Canadians.
That Canadians are required to endure a median wait time of 16.1 weeks from GP referral to treatment by a specialist in the developed world's second most expensive universal access health care program should be considered unacceptable.
So should the fact that wait times remain historically high in spite of substantial increases in health spending across Canada over time.
This second point is critical in understanding why the small reduction in wait times in 2009, compared to 2008, is not something to celebrate.
Looked at another way, the 113 day total median wait time from GP to treatment in 2009 is the same as it was back in 2000-01, despite the fact that provincial health expenditures per Canadian have increased 29 per cent over that period, after adjusting for inflation.
Canadians, through their tax dollars, are spending more than ever on health care and yet are experiencing wait times that are just as long as they were at the start of the decade, an outcome that is hardly a sign of success.
Despite a minor improvement in wait times and despite the many excuses offered by defenders of the status quo, Canada's health care system is not delivering good value for taxpayer investments. Canada maintains a relatively expensive health care system yet leaves Canadians to endure relatively poor access to physicians and medical technologies, cares for them using far too many old and outdated pieces of medical equipment, and requires Canadians to suffer some of the longest queues for treatment in the developed world.
Importantly, there are seven developed nations that spend the same as or less than Canada on health care but manage to deliver universal access to health care services without queues for treatment.
Patients in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg and Switzerland all receive wait-list free access to health care services regardless of their ability to pay.
These nations all share a common approach to health care policy based on private competition and appropriate financial incentives for patients and providers.
That is, patients are free to choose for themselves whether their care provider will be a public or private hospital, all within the universal health insurance system. Patients in these nations are also free to purchase the care they desire privately if they wish to do so.
Finally, patients must share in the cost of the care they consume, which encourages them to make more informed decisions about when and where it is best to access the health care system.
By pursuing an approach to health care policy that has often been falsely labelled as the "Americanization" of health care in Canada, these nations are able to deliver what many Canadians might consider the impossible dream: a wait-list free universal health care system for the same or less cost than Canada's health care system.
This reality exposes the failure of Canada's health care system when it comes to dealing with queues for medical treatment.
The fact that wait times have fallen to the level experienced nearly a decade ago following sizable real increases in health spending is not a sign of sensible investments. Rather it is a clear indication that Canada's health care system continues to fail Canadians."
Yet Ontario Liberals Dalton McGuinty and George Smitherman were just recently patting themselves on the back at how well they did in their health care monopoly!
It's sad to see people whose predictable knee-jerk reaction is, as Ismail writes, to immediately deride health care reform in Canada by trotting out the 'Americanization' canard, and then for good measure, babble about how Tommy Douglas, that good ole socialist, would 'spin' in his grave' at the slightest hint of reform. (see here)
Can you even carry a dialogue with someone who naively places quotation marks around the word monopoly, as if to imply... um... that there is NO health care monopoly in Ontario?!
Can you have a dialogue with someone who demands that their continuously-failing monopolist health care failures be forced upon you, while at the same time they smugly bleat that it is "immoral" for you to choose your own payer/provider options?
Well then: have good look at Pat Scholfield's Nov.19, 2009 Niagara This Week letter, "Total reform of health care system needed":
Obviously, "total reform" is NOT what the left actually wants, at all!
Take a look at how a deluded, ideologically blinded Scholfield even writes the word monopoly in quotation marks --- as if single-payer health monopoly does not exactly describe the health care situation here in Ontario!!
What utter, plain propaganda!!
And - when socialist dogma cannot acknowledge nor explain the utter failing of decades of Tommy Douglas' socialism - the left immediately barks at and smears the United States, as Scholfield did here - a pure textbook, predictable tactic: exactly as Ismail noted above.
Scholfield, on cue, trotted out the old fear-mongering anti-U.S. chestnuts so favoured by the Ontario Liberal and Ontario NDP healthcare-monopoly-pushing statists - it's almost as if Pat was channelling ole Liberal MPP Jim Bradley!
Who asked you to copy the American health care system, Pat??
Who told you to "convert to a privatized system", Pat? Are you truly that ignorant?
Even Niagara This Week's chosen caption for Scholfield's letter is patently deceptive and an example of uninformed leftist-bias, seeing as that Scholfield truly IS NOT looking for a "total reform of the health system" at all; there is no "reform" here, whatsoever: she is simply intent on maintaining the existing failing statist "public health system", aka Ontario's single-payer monopoly!! The headline is complete hogwash!
Scholfield is looking to double-down on the same-old failed existing statist system we have now: with more earnest tinkering by more earnest leftists, with more government, with more single-payer despotism, with less patient choice.
It is Scholfield herself who in fact is sanctimoniously propagandizing for an immoral monopoly.
Ismail's reform suggestions, made earlier above, are pretty much NOT the kind of "total reform" the left wants: they prefer more regressive government control, more intervention, more failing socialism: because, um... we just haven't had enough statist interference yet!!!
The left only wants to use the word "public" when defining their (monopolist) health system, with no room for competition; hence their bizarre disbelief that anyone would define their cosy single-payer, state-run system as a monopoly!!
Politicians of all stripes must stop drinking Tommy Douglas's poisoned bathwater, Pat.
We need to talk about health care reform in Ontario that includes consumer-patient/payer-provider choices.
We need Ontarians to understand Jacques Chaoulli's battle, on behalf of patient George Zeliotis, against the status-quo health-monopolists in Quebec. (see the Chaoulli links below)
Pat Scholfield should take a moment to consider John Balsevich's comment (National Post, Jun.11, 2005): "When I think of Great Canadians, the names of Pierre Trudeau and Tommy Douglas do not come to mind. My vote goes to Jacques Chaoulli, George Zeliotis, and their lawyer. Thank you, gentlemen."