--> Getting It Right: Health Care 101 - Canada Style?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Health Care 101 - Canada Style?

What is Canadian health care supposed to look like?

Are Canadians well-served or not?

What are our responsibilities for our fellow Canadians? For the poor? For the children?

Can market-based health care work for those least fortunate?

Is health care like groceries - and will we need "health banks" like foodbanks for those that can't afford it?

Is health care a human right?

Discuss...

I'm working on a series of columns about the state of health care in BC and your comments would be most welcome.

Most sincerely,
Erin

21 Comments:

At 11:57 AM, Anonymous mel wilde said...

Last november I was injured and both my shoulders and left elbow require surgery if I am to recover the use of them. I am in constant pain. I am told I must wait at least another 2 to 4 months to have a consultation with a surgeon
and then a couple of years for the surgery. I checked with a private clinic and it would cost app $24,000 to repair my arms which as a senior I can't aford. this can't be good medicare.

 
At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Healthcare is not a right. Anything that requires the services of another person cannot be a right. If you are the last person on earth you still have the right to free speech or religion but how can you have a right to healthcare when there is no one to provide it?

 
At 2:27 PM, Anonymous Sean P., Vancouver-Quilchena/Quadra said...

Basic health care should be a right to all Canadian citizens and landed immigrants (i.e., LEGAL aliens).

Who should provide health care is another question, which I believe that the Crown should not have an automatic right to a monopoly.

For profit health care is not wrong, so long as it is properly regulated.

I've had personal experience at UBC Emergency hospital twice in my life, and I got fine service, but the staff was overworked. My best friend had quadruple heart by-pass surgery back in 2001 at St. Paul's Hospital and got excellent service....But, I've had family members that had to go to Surrey Memorial Hospital and got absolutely horrible service.

Personally, I find nothing wrong with the Medical Services Plan Premiums that we pay; in fact, I think that they are not enough....They barely cover the costs of anything in the medical system.

Private hospitals will relieve the stress of public hospitals, but they should be regulated so as to deflect any so-called drain of talent away from the public hospitals.

In essence, if someone has the money to pay for a medical procedure, why should the government stop him or her? Or why should he or she be forced to travel to the United States to have that medical procedure done? Why not allow him or her to do it here in BC?

Also, why should the Medical Services Plan cover as many health care concerns as it does today? When medical care was first created, it wasn't meant to cover as much as it does today! Why should we not pay for regular visits to our general practioners (family doctors) and at least a minimal daily charge for using a hospital bed? Why should we pay close to $100 to visit a dentist or eye doctor but nothing to visit our family doctor?

And, what about government pharmacare? With the rising costs of medicines and a rapidly aging population, we are going to spend a lot of money on this type of health care. Why should pharmacare cover as much as it does? Why do private prescription plans insist that we exhaust our government coverage first before the private coverage kick in?

Those are just some of my concerns.....I apologize for taking too much room :-)

 
At 4:37 PM, Anonymous small-c torontonian said...

In business terms, we need capacity in the public health care system and why should we not allow private individuals to set up businesses that provide us with this capacity? Our first step is allowing this debate in the open so that real ideas can come forward rather than having people painted as uncanadian for questioning the status quo. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. The public only healthcare system doesn't work no matter how much money we try and put in it.

Private facilities will be run more efficiently and will be more than eager to provide service to individuals and the government can direct the medicare dollar to that service provider in the same way they do in our hospitals today.

What is not a Canadian value is having people receive sub-standard care, being forced to wait while a disease overtakes your body or just to see a specialist to determine if why you are sick.

 
At 4:59 PM, Anonymous Adrian MacNair said...

I'm gonna "Fisk" you, Erin.

"What is Canadian health care supposed to look like?"

The way it was intended to when Tommy Douglas lobbied for it. To provide Canadians "assistance" with medical care. So that the poor and disabled would not go suffering. So that we could enable people to benefit under a universal system of compassion.

Not so that refugees and terrorists can come and suck it dry. Not so the Khadrs can be injured in gun fights and have us foot the expenses.

"Are Canadians well-served or not?"

Not. I use the health care system sparingly: as in, almost never. I haven't had a physical exam since I was a child. I've gone to the hospital twice in the past 18 years. I have no physician or family doctor. I do not believe in burdening our system with unnecessary "check ups" all the time, especially for people under 35-40.

"What are our responsibilities for our fellow Canadians? For the poor? For the children?"

They are clear. We need to provide adequate care for those who cannot provide for themselves. The poor need our help more than any, and those who say otherwise are "economically" misinformed. It would be a great waste of human life not to reinvest in the poor to make the well again, to invest in their well-being so they may pay their taxes and contribute to others.

"Can market-based health care work for those least fortunate?"

We need a 2 tier system. Specialized health care for those who wish it, with subsidies for the poor. We need to strip nonessentials from our system, such as "sex change operations" and overpriced scans, injections, pills, and other placebos. Drug companies are more or less dope peddlers for doctors. And doctors prescribe so many pills, that our "checkup" mentality is a huge strain on the system.

"Is health care like groceries - and will we need "health banks" like foodbanks for those that can't afford it?"

Yes, we probably will. I'd like to see health banks for people like myself. I don't use health care, so I should have a vast savings of it. Instead I get no credit for helping out the system by not burdening it.

I disagree with Sean. I live in Vancouver and I do not like the health premiums. I do not wish to pay for what I do not use. I do not intend to use medical services here, and given my track record, I don't think I will. I don't see why I have to pay $58 a month PLUS the deductions from federal taxes? It's a TAX on a TAX.

"Is health care a human right?"

It's a right endowed by those with compassion. An inherent right? Is there such a thing?

 
At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Adrian MacNair said...

I need to follow up. I did not answer this question properly:

"Are Canadians well-served or not?"

No, they are not. Everyone I know of has a poor opinion of the health care system. The wait times at appointments, the wait times for routine operations (not to mention serious ones), the doctors who don't care, the "pills" and dope peddling, the wait times in emergency rooms (My 3 year old son had to WAIT in emergency for an hour after sustaining a bloody head injury. A 3 YEAR OLD CHILD JESUS CHRIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

On top of this you have poor service from overworked nurses who treat you like a number and yawn at your injuries (and they make quadruple minimum wage). The doctors often take 2 minutes and have 150 other patients that day. The health care system is brutally, utterly, and unsustainably failing.

In my opinon.

 
At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Canada is the only "western democracy" that currently bans a parallel private health care system for basic health care. That alone, I think, answers the question as to whether we are in step with the evolving world or not. Is health care a basic human right? I guess that depends on whose definition of "human rights" you subscribe to but the answer is no. The basic human right should be to protect yourself from harm as an individual. This includes having the right to defend yourself and to purchase health care. Health care is banned unless you receive it from the state. This is a serious infringement of rights in Canada. Allowing private health care to exist would be an important step in getting past our Tommy Douglas fetish and loosening the chains that bind us.
- Howard Roark from Toronto

 
At 12:06 AM, Blogger YVRpilot said...

Food for thought... both my sister and brother-in-law are doctors. They've specialized, and currently live and work in the US (both graduated in the US - no Canadian "brain drain" here). Their combined income is OVER 1 million a year. Is this the direction we want Canadian private health care to go into? If you think it wouldn't, I think you'd be sadly mistaken.

Our current health care is not perfect and it could certainly use some tweaking.

First and foremost, we need to weed out those who abuse the system.

Second, we need to educate people to know when to use and when not to use the services available. (i.e.: people calling an ambulance thinking that they will be put ahead of the 'line' once they arrive to Emergency). Pharmacists should be allowed to prescribe drugs. They do in third world countries and soon, they will also in Alberta.

And last but not least, any life threatening illnesses should be treated without delay. If staff levels need to be increased to achieve this, so be it.

Health Care is not a right. It's a perk that we as Canadians must treasure, protect and strive to improve.

 
At 6:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's Make Health Care Inexpensive Again

by Harry Browne

May 2, 2002

The politicians are pushing to raise the cost of your health insurance again.

Of course, that's not how they describe what they're doing. They claim to be exercising compassion when they propose to force insurance companies to include mental illness in every health-insurance policy.

Politicians love to posture as friends of particular groups — women, children, and people suffering from a particular disease — by forcing insurance companies to cover some medical procedure that's important to a target audience. But every time the government (state or federal) forces insurers to include another benefit in your policy, your premium has to go up.

So it isn't surprising that over three decades the cost of health insurance has risen spectacularly.

Do You Need It?

Depending on the state you live in, your health insurance may be priced to include mandatory coverage of chiropractors, acupuncture, naturopathy, marriage counseling, abortions, drug abuse, alcoholism, treatments to stop smoking, cosmetic surgery, weight loss, wigs and other hairpieces, Christian Science practitioners, and dozens of other possibilities.

I have nothing against any of these treatments. But it makes no sense for the government to force you to pay for such coverage if you'd prefer a cheaper policy. Just as when you buy a computer or a cell phone, you should be able to select and pay for only the features you need and want — not what the politicians think you need.

As the politicians keep pushing up the cost, every medical interest group suffers. So most of them go to Washington (or the state capitol) to lobby the politicians to provide relief by forcing insurers to add their favored treatment to the mandatory coverage — pushing the price up further.

Losing Health Insurance

It may be hard to believe, but back in the 1950s health insurance cost just a few dollars a month for most people — and it was available to virtually everyone, including people with pre-existing conditions.

The percentage of people covered grew steadily from the 1940s. And by the early 1970s, almost all Americans were covered by some form of insurance. Then the politicians went to work to load up policies with mandatory coverage of all sorts of conditions that may be of no use to you. More and more people decided that insurance had become too expensive and decided to risk being uninsured. By the 1990s coverage had dropped to under 70% of Americans.



In addition, many employers decided health coverage was too expensive. In 1980 fully 97% of the companies with 100 or more employees provided medical coverage. By 1995, only 77% were doing so.

The growing number of uninsured people gives politicians more ammunition for more programs to force more costs onto insurance companies, and to push the price of insurance still higher.

How HMOs Became So Powerful

The cost of insurance is only one area where the politicians have ruined our health-care system.

You may have noticed that they're also pushing for a "Patients' Bill of Rights" — supposedly to give patients certain privileges in dealing with health maintenance organizations (HMOs).

No one is pushing for a "Bill of Rights" to protect patients against doctors — or against druggists, supermarkets, computer stores, or interior decorators. So how did HMOs become so powerful and dictatorial that their customers need protection?

Nearly 30 years ago Congress passed the HMO Act of 1973 — which subsidized HMOs and gave them a preferred position among employers. The Act was finally repealed in 1995, but by that time HMOs had become thoroughly entrenched as the centerpiece of employer-sponsored health programs.

Once again, the politicians are seizing the opportunity to save us from their own handiwork.

The Solution

The solution to all today's medical problems is to get government out of health care.

At a minimum we need to:

End Medicare, so that seniors and everyone else can have low-cost health care again, as well as access to all treatments and tests a doctor thinks advisable.

End Medicaid, to stop the senseless waste of money by corrupt state medical agencies.

End the federal regulation that has driven so many charity hospitals and free clinics out of business.

Repeal all the state and federal laws that tell insurance companies what benefits to include in their policies.

Make all medical expenses deductible on your income tax return, so your employer can raise your salary instead of providing insurance coverage — letting you choose the health care system most appropriate for you, deducting the cost directly from your income tax.
These are the kinds of solutions that show real compassion for the sick and the vulnerable.

And that's why no politician is proposing them.
http://www.harrybrowne.org/articles/HealthCare.htm

Posted by Bernie

 
At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Larry said...

Best to have both public and private health care in Canada.Private health care would remove some of the burden on public health care.People who are rich,if they have to waite for public health care they will instead go else where. Thus by having private health care too,the rich would spend their health money in Canada.Plus less line ups on the public health care system. Of course union leaders won't like private health care due to the fact they have their own interest in public health care.

 
At 10:20 AM, Anonymous Larry said...

Best to have both public and private health care in Canada.Private health care would remove some of the burden on public health care.People who are rich,if they have to waite for public health care they will instead go else where. Thus by having private health care too,the rich would spend their health money in Canada.Plus less line ups on the public health care system. Of course union leaders and left-wingers won't like private health care due to the fact they have their own interest in public health care and eveything government for lefty's no to capitalist and reality they like left ideology instead.

 
At 6:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Food Care 101 - Canada Style?

What is Canadian food care supposed to look like?

Are Canadians well-served or not?

What are our responsibilities for our fellow Canadians? For the poor? For the children?

Can market-based food care work for those least fortunate?

Is food care like medicine - and will we need "food banks" like freeclinics for those that can't afford it?

Is food care a human right?

Discuss...

I'm working on a series of columns about the state of food care in BC and your comments would be most welcome.

Most sincerely,
-----------------------
Bernie

 
At 6:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

See this too Erin,

http://www.distributism.com/compare.htm

Bernie

 
At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Today, the government spends half of all health care dollars in America, but it has no incentive to spend these health care dollars wisely. As a result this massive federal intrusion has run up the price of doctor visits, hospital stays, and health insurance -- far outpacing the rate of general inflation. So in reality America's health care problem is really a government problem.

Democrats and Republicans in Washington, D.C. want to remake the American health-care system in the image of the disastrous European systems, attempting to blame government's failures on the free market.

But the stark truth is that government health care is a massive failure, and I want to remove the government from between you and your doctor. By getting the federal government completely out of health care, we will have more choices, better health care, and lower prices for doctor visits, hospital stays, and health insurance."
Read the rest of the article here:
http://www.harrybrowne.org
/hb2000/print/health.htm

Bernie

 
At 3:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do-It-Yourself Medicine Makes Inroads
http://news.yahoo.com/s/hsn/
20060622/hl_hsn/
doityourselfmedicinemakesinroads

Bernie

 
At 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If BC is like Ontario then 'health care' means that you better stay healthy because no one cares.

The 'health care' system exists to employ unions for government and this becomes obvious when a person seeks diagnosis or treatment. The staff consider patients a burden on their otherwise wonderful system, listen to the language they use in the multitudes of reports.

Contrast this situation with getting an oil change done on your Honda - they make it obvious that they're working for you, they keep their appointments, the waiting areas are clean and comfortable, and they do follow-ups.

If the entire auto industry were a nationalized sacred cow though - we would all be driving old junk if we were lucky enough to have a car.

 
At 10:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Last november I was injured". How? Was it your 'fault'? Quaint word for a quaint concept. Why can't you pay yourself? You say you're a senior. Are you a poor senior? If so, why are you poor? Do you smoke or drink? Play the ponies? VLTs? Give money to the kids? If so, how long have you done so and why should I pay because you pissed away your money?

If you are not poor and I (in my role as taxpayer) pay for your surgery, will you pay me back in some form of estate tax or will you leave your estate to your kids?

If I pay for your surgery, am I really just giving money to your kids? Because I am really opposed to doing that.

Fred Z

 
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