Decision Canada 2006

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Health Care - Private is not evil

Looks like I am the new guy here, so I should probably introduce myself. My name is Greg Phelan, I am a 21 year old from Winterpeg, Manitoba. I work within the aviation industry, in a unionised (CAW) workplace. (Despite) being CAW, I am both a small-c and big-C Conservative (with libertarian leanings). After I posted some arguments to some of the left-of-centre leanings here, I was invited to join and provide a bit of a voice from the right, so to speak. As a nice generic disclaimer, any opinions expressed are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Conservative Party, or any candidate thereof.

Health Care is the hardest issue for Canadian politicians to discuss. If the third rail of American politics is social security, for us it is health care or, more specifically, the involvement of the private sector in health care.

On the political right of this issue is, of course, the Conservatives. Steven Harper, in his health care policy announcement here in Winnipeg on Friday, stated that he would not shut down private clinics – that shutting them down would not help cure the health care system at all. Makes sense, doesn’t it – the problem is not enough medical facilities, so the solution isn’t shutting facilities down. He also stated unequivocally that he would not allow for a parallel, private health care system.

The NDP is the next group, well to the right of the Liberal’s stated position. According to the CTV, Layton said that, “private clinics are a "fundamental aspect" of the health-care system founded by former Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas…” To be fair, he stated explicitly that no public money will go towards private clinics.

And then there are the Liberals. As of their last stated position, they were dead set against any private health care. That would include, I guess, the Victorian Order of Nurses, who since 1897 have been providing health care services to Canadians. Even worse is the Copeman Healthcare Centre, a new clinic in BC who, for $200/month (or $2,300 per year, children under 18 free) will provide private treatment, outside of the public system. Medically necessary services will be provided by their physicians (and paid for by provincial heath care); extra services such as comprehensive disease risk screenings (which would have to be paid out of pocket as they are not covered) are covered by that annual fee. Heck, they even provide house calls!

The left will say, “but… but… but… then the rich get better health care!” Yup… and I am missing the problem with that. The “rich” are a) still contributing to the public health care system through taxes, and b) are reducing the burden on the public health care system by getting their services elsewhere, thus improving the services that the rest of us can get.

Canada is only one of three countries in which individuals cannot legally pay for their own medically necessary health care – North Korea and Cuba are the other two. So, because we have “univeral” health care, we must rank highly on the WHO’s ranking of health care quality, right? Wrong. Canada ranks 30th in the world (as of 2000). To be fair, the US ranks worse (38th), however having a mix of private and public health care, the left’s accusations notwithstanding, is not stricly “Americanization” of health care. We could call it, “Europeanising” (France has the best health care system, according to the WHO, and a lot of other European countries rank higher then Canada), “Asianising” (Japan has the second-best health care system, or even “Colombianizing” (Colombia has the 22nd-best health care system). And yes, this study does also look at access to health care across the socio-economic spectrum (that is why the USA fell so low, because of poor access to health care for the poor)

No matter which model we follow, the fact remains that there are 29 better systems then ours. It would be nice to see a politician (of any stripe; blue, red, orange, green) stand up, admit that our system isn’t the best, and that improvement may (or will) involve private health care. Too bad the media will crucify that individual.

7 Comments:

  • Good arguement, there is nothing wrong with some private health care just as long as public health care isn't totally fazed out. Great supporting points, I like it. Welcome aboard the board.

    By Blogger blazer, at 3:51 PM  

  • I see your point, however, I would have to say that the private sector would become very profitable and a great place for skilled physicians and richer clients. This would mean that not only would the less fortunate Candians not only recieve sub-quality healthcare, but also the doctor pateint ratio in the public sector would become even worse. To me, I feel that the economic beenifts do not outweight the social needs of the lower financial half of our country.

    By Blogger Whatever, at 7:52 PM  

  • However, the public purse cannot afford to do everything. The private sector won't start a pay war with the public sector, as they need to be cost competitive. Well, the doctor-patient ratio in the public sector. If x number of people in that said ratio went to a private doctor, the ratio would be the same if not lower.

    By Blogger Andrew, at 11:23 PM  

  • whatever, your argument makes sense if you assume that individuals can opt out of the public system - that is, that the upper-middle socioeconomic class individuals can no longer have their taxes go towards public health care (with a subsequent reduction in taxes). In this case, I am not completely advocating this - so, the funding remains stable in the public system, and combine that with a continued high demand for health care - the doctor patient ratio may drop initially as some doctors move to private clinics, however will rapidly stabilize with an influx of doctors from other countries who want to finally be able to earn a few bucks (rather then leaving Canada to earn), combined with (hopefully!) an increased amount of training spots for new doctors.

    By Blogger Greg P, at 5:43 AM  

  • I knew I forgot part of my reply.

    As far as the quality argument goes - there is a pretty high bar set for physicians. Whether the physician finishes first or last in medical school/on board exams, they are pretty darn good for the most part. Sure, there are doctors who occasionally turn out to be incompetant... that exists currently, and they get found out pretty quickly, and then are decertified.

    Will you get "better" doctors in the private system? Sure. That is not to say that the quality in the public system will be sub-par - right now, many of the skilled doctors who could make a fortune privately are going down south. We would be keeping them in Canada, thus increasing the tax revinue of the country.

    By Blogger Greg P, at 7:27 AM  

  • I don't know who it is that is having bad health care, but I think it's either people who are ultra conservative and money grubbing..nothing worse the cheap and greedy, or people like my parents, who bitch and whine if they don't get gold card treatment when they open their front door.

    Sorry ma and pa, back of the line with everyone else, hope you make it to the front.

    Anyways, moving right along. I've had zero issues getting to health care, from emergency to general health, etc.,

    I'm sorry if some oldies can't get hip surgey right away, too bad so sad. If you are rich, get in your lear jet and go to the U.S. for treatment.

    The U.S government spends twice as much as Canada does on each person. the public system costs about $180 per month per Canadian (Canadian Institute for Health Information).

    Can you tell me that I would be able to get complete medical coverage, regardless of conditions from a private insurer, for ever, for $180 a month.

    Not likely. I have ZERO interest in making some rich so I can get healthcare, other then the doctor himself.

    We must end the blood sucking of middle men who are only there to shave off the top. They will offer no answers, and take all the gravy for pushing paper.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:57 AM  

  • Health insurance in the U.S. is expensive, rapidly rising costs are affecting employers and consumers as well as the government, and a study in Health Affairs concluded that half of personal bankruptcies involved medical bills.

    Wonderful system. There are people in the U.S. that allow themselves to die painfully of cancer, leaving their kids to watch them die, so they'll have money.

    God, I can think of no greater evil. Just so some taxpayer, get's another head for xmas.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:01 PM  

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