By Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star, Janujary 22, 2011
Harper’s Conservative Party platform contains important caveats.
It says provinces should have “maximum flexibility” to deliver health care. This is a hint that Conservative governments won’t be overly worried if provinces try to introduce two-tier care.
It also calls for “a balance” between public and private delivery. Currently, virtually all Canadian hospitals are public.
More to the point, it talks of limiting Ottawa’s use of the federal spending power in areas of provincial jurisdiction such as health.
If that platform promise were honored, medicare – a social program based upon Ottawa’s ability to withhold federal funds from provinces that don’t adhere to national standards – wouldn’t exist in its present form.
Another slippery slope...don't really talk about the details on how the Conservatives would go about dismantling the National Health Care system, that has served so many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Canadians so well for so long, just let it slide into the oblivion that comes from a privatized alternative which then shifts the cost, and the profit, to those companies currently operating and new entries, anticipating their opportunity of another cash grab. Health is a constantly growing "market," to use the business model of conversation, which should never apply to its design or delivery. All of us will need more health care from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and ancillary providers, until we take our last breath.
And, so the provision of that service will cost each of us, and our families and our society considerable cash.
The source of that cash, and whether we pay on average, a similar, if not precisely exact same dollar, no matter our condition, our age, nor our location, or whether we are expected to "pay as we go" depending on the size of our need, and on our ability to pay is the question.
And while there are changes needed to certain aspects of the current system which is based, for example, on the doctor's number of patient encounters, and not on the "health" of his/her patients, nor on the quality of his/her care, the system must be preserved. It is one of the most characteristic features of the Canadian way of doing things, that we take national pride in our access to health care, even though some of have far greater access to far more services, in our own communities, than other Canadian citizens, who also pay their fair share of the cost burden.
What really galls me about the potential shift to privitized care is that someone, anyone, should make a profit off the inevitable sickness, pain, discomfort and disability of others. A reasonable remuneration, requiring constant upgrading of qualifications on the part of doctors, nurses and the multitude of technologists seems more than reasonable. There is the opportunity in that model to plan and to organize based on anticipated requirements, and the greed that so infests the corporate world, is a little less able to dominate that model.
If we turn the whole system over to the private corporation, whose sole motive is profit for the shareholders, then they will rape the users, just as the insurance companies in the U.S. are doing and have been doing for decades. We do not want a health care system whose cornerstone is profit for the corporations, and not care for the patients. We do not want a health care system dominated by those who seek to seduce those in pain to use their products and services, rather than a system based on the authentic needs of the patient.
We do not want some profit-driven executives determining the costs of any particular services, and who has access to those services, and to how much of those services the patient has access.
And in order to keep and to preserve, and to enhance our health care system, we need a new government, a government that is not dependent on the corporate monopoly that runs the U.S. system, even with the Health Reform Act passed under the Obama administration. And to attain that government, whether it is lead by Ignatieff or Layton, or both, is not only a national requirement, it is a national emergency.
We do not want more corporate takeover of our universities, and our hospitals and our religious institutions, and we need a national government that is committed to keeping the Canadian people at the centre of our focus, and of the national conversation, not the metallic, robotic profit-driven monsters who have taken control of the U.S.