Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What does wedding cake and health care have in common?

They are both tiered. The bottom layer forms health care for the masses, the second layer is for those folks who have top up coverage through a collective agreement or contract and the top layer is for the rich and famous and those with influence.

During my recent visit to the USA I was stunned by the reaction of the American public to Obama's health care proposal. While in debate with some Americans on Obama's plan I expressed the benefits of our health care system, acknowledged its few short comings and suggested that the pros outweighed the cons for middle class Americans. An enraged Attila the Hun is frightening and I exited the debate while I still had skin on my back.

Danny Williams certainly has been a controversial premier in Canada and has taken his road show down to the USA. In today's SP article a doctor from the Canadian Doctors for Medicine says seeking his medical treatment in the USA should not be a judgment on Canadian Health Care. Sadly, it is - on both sides of the border. Thousands of Canadians head south every year for diagnosis, speedy treatment or advanced procedures. Most are not funded by Canadian health care but by the individual.

The lesson to be learned from this is our inability to rationally discuss health care without fear mongering politics taking over the debate - on both sides of the border.

Let them eat cake. And we will too.


  1. You may be scolded for bringing this one up Mistress, even whispering about tiered or semi-private health care in the province of Tommy Douglas will get you some dirty looks.

    But I agree, much like nuclear energy both camps seem to be entrenched in their respective positions. Rather than have an educated debate on the subject fear mongering rules the day.

    The Health care system has been wonderful to me and I have no complaints. I have received prompt service (usually within hours if not a serious injury) and top notch treatment from our physicians. And the best part is I walk out of the hospital without a bill. With that being said, I have no problem sitting an extra half hour in waiting with a non serious injury if someone would prefer to pay to jump the line, or waiting an extra week or two for surgery is someone must absolutely get in quicker.

    My only two concerns on this are, 1) every dollar for service paid is kept within the healthcare system and not diverted out (reinvest to improved more staff, better accommodations, etc..) and 2) that there is an independent board to monitor the administration of the system (for example, to ensure that all surgeries don't become pay-or-never get done, perhaps ensuring that wait times will never increase beyond what they are today for surgeries).

    The government, health care system and hospitals are in dire need of more funding. Why not at least explore the option. I for one, could make due spending an extra hour in the waiting room if I knew the person jumping ahead of me in line was responsible for picking up the tab on the nice flat screen showing the game in the waiting room.

  2. Anyone who thinks we don't have tiered healthcare in this province is living in a dream world. Unless you're on assistance, who pays for your trip to the dentist or the optometrist (if you can afford it)? We already have it, and some people have insurance and some people do not - that translates into some people having access to these services and some people not. Allow me to point out, however, Mistress, that some of us have work-based employer-paid health benefits that are borne of the employers' understanding of whhat true employee benefits are, and no because we are part of a collective agreement or contract.

    As someone who spent two days gravely ill on a gurney in emergency (often in the hallway) before there was a bed available, I can tell you that I would have gladly written a cheque to get the hell out of there. And I would have written a cheque for the guy lying beside me, if that would have made it more fair.

    What happens in America is criminal. What happens here is laughable, especially considering the pedestal we place our system upon. You're right - get the politics out of it and focus on the so-called priorities - good patient care for the population and cost effectiveness for the tax payers. Is anyone listening?


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