Brian’s Question

In a comment on a previous post Brian Sanderson included a link to some further comments on health care policy  which we feel deserves a bit of up front attention. We have his permission to cross post it here.

The candidates “debate”, now more properly described as a forum, is tomorrow night . Brian has a question for them.

A question for candidates running in the Canadian 2011 Federal Election.

I googled “liberal health care policy” and this is what popped up: … the Liberals stand for direct action to put decision-making on hospitals back in the hands of local doctors and nurses. Woops,that’s the Australian Liberal Party!

Scrolling down googles list, the third item pertained to Canada in 1998: The future of health care was the topic of debate at the federal Liberal convention in Ottawa this morning. Some of the delegates called on the government to put more money into medicare. It’s a rare moment of dissent.

Given recent developments, it now seems that the dissenters have carried the day, big time: Liberals, NDP and Conservatives are all jumping on the “More Funding Bandwagon”.

Going down the list to go back to the present, we find: Because this election presents Canadians with a simple question: who do you trust to speak for Canada as crucial decisions are made about the future of our universal health care system? The Liberals outline a detailed health-care platform that focuses on:

  • supporting families,
  • more funding and more funding for research and more funding for farmers markets,
  • more regulations,
  • and educating the public to improve their lifestyles.

The Conservative health-care platform is presented differently and it focuses on:

  • supporting families,
  • more funding,
  • no new regulations without removing old regulations,
  • and giving the public a tax break if they join a gym.

There is no difference in policy, only a difference in political style. Neither party seems to find any fault with our “universal” health care system. Their platforms might be argued to merely add to a system that is touted to be “universal”.

I have less experience of the Canadian Health Care system than most Canadians. That’s because I’ve spent a lot of time living in other places that have other health care systems. Strangely, every government likes to sell its health care system as being the “best in the world”. Like Danny Williams, I know enough to know that none of them are correct.

So here is my question for the forum: What compromises are built into our Universal Health Care System?

Related: A letter from Dr. M. Patz


7 responses to “Brian’s Question

  1. Driving through Wolfville today, I was horrified to see all the negative yellow signs (yellow for cowardly, I assume) anti Harper signs. Then there was one with his picture and a red circle around it with the ubiquitous red line across it which stated “Not Harper” – I wonder who is paying for these negative signs and I pray that they will have the backlash effect they so heartily deserve. I suspect they are put there by the Catch 22 jackasses.

    Or those who wish that Scott Brison had stayed with the Conservatives. If he had, he would likely be in caucus at least, and perhaps running for PM.
    I suppose these are people who are ashamed of putting their names on their stupid signs….those with more money than brains or ethics.

    • I think these signs were given away down at the Farmers Market. I was amused to be shown an NDP button, on the back it was labeled Made in USA… Has anyone taken a close look, perhaps it’s possible to see where those Not Harper signs were made? Communist China?

  2. For shame! Not China-don’t blame our ills on that country. As for the yellow signs- bring them on- we need dialogue.

    • Yes, single-minded signs are no substitute for discussing the substance of issues. I heard one interesting point of view at the forum. (I didn’t hear it from a candidate.) A suggestion was made that there needed to be more flexibility in the way doctors are paid. Apparently doctors can innovate (within medical norms) but they may not get compensated because the bureaucracy would not have a formula with which to pay them.

      I think that one of the objectives of the Ross report was to address such things. One wonders, however, if this is even possible within a system that is a monolithic construct of so many levels of government and so many bureaucratic and professional bodies? I am reminded of the “debate” about planning for sea level rise here in NS. As I recall, there were more than 10 government departments and many municipal councils involved and they had meetings for more than a year — and nothing… The public can’t even access a digital elevation model for the local coastline.

      I’d suggest that some diversification from our health care system is required. To achieve this, it may be necessary for governments to let go of the reins a bit.

  3. Farmer’s market? Then I shall avoid that like the plague. I believe that any business that stoops to supporting negative advertising against the government should have their support taken away. I don’t want one cent of my municipal taxes to go to people who put up these signs.
    Shame on them.

  4. There doesn’t seem to be any incentive during an election campaign to have an adult debate on health care. If a candidate says anything about having a change to the present system, you hear caterwauling from every media outlet that the sky is falling. If Tommy Douglas were around, he would be appalled at the infantile arguments. Why are people so afraid of a little adjustment here and there? Nobody seems to mind paying for parking at the hospitals. Why should they mind paying for health care service. There should, in my opinion, be some kind of user pay. And end of life common sense.

    • Emeritus professor Ghose suggests that inefficiency may be an issue. Hmm, I wonder if we are allowed to say such things in polite company? For myself, I think that the inefficiency is built into the system by having too many layers of politicians. This just turns patients and health workers into political footballs.

      Another point that Ghose does not address: Mr Irony decides what’s within the “universal” system. The inherent contradiction that can only be resolved by adopting a less antagonistic attitude towards alternative approaches.

      “End of life common sense”, sounds, well, sensible…