What's Wrong with Healthcare?

Thinking inside and outside of the healthcare box. After 41 years of family practice, what's happened to Canada's healthcare system?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Health Care as Entertainment

After ten days nothing has changed. The news media is still skirting around the real issues in our health care system. Tom Olsen, in the March 09/06 issue of the Calgary Herald, writes an article entitled: “Health debate makes for good theatre”. My position is that if the news media didn’t treat our health care crisis as “good theatre” perhaps we could experience some good debate.
In his article he goes over the usual tiresome comments from the provincial NDP, Liberals and lobby group “Friends of Medicare”. He also quotes Elaine (whose qualifications are unknown) as saying: “The people who have money will go to the private system, the people who are disabled, who have chronic conditions, the private system won’t take them” ( she doesn’t say why they would go to the private system). To me, this statement opens up several questions. As a compassionate society, do we have an obligation to look after everyone or just those that for whatever reason are unable to look after themselves? Why do we have laws that prevent people from looking after themselves, thus making them a burden on the tax payer? If more people look after themselves won’t there be more resources in our system for those who are unable to look after themselves?
The “Friends of Medicare” and their supporters say health care providers will leave the public system and go to the private system. Why would they? Are they being treated badly? Would a private system lure caregivers back to Canada who have left over the past twenty years? Has any one actually surveyed doctors and nurses who have left to see if they would come back under a different system? Has anyone surveyed our existing care givers in our public system to see if they would go to a private system and if they would, why? It amazes me that in a country and at a time in history when communication is “king” we don’t have answers to any of these questions, only assumptions.
I think it is safe to say that generally once an ill person accesses our public system, they receive as good care as most private systems in the world. So why would Elaine bemoan the fact that the poor, disabled and chronically ill will be left in our public system as though it were in some way second or third rate? Statistics show it is equal to private systems except in one way----access. The bottom line then: Any way and all ways of improving access to our public system will improve the medical care of the poor, the disabled and the chronically ill. So, news media, use your investigative and communication powers and let’s do some real investigative reporting. Leave the theatre to the entertainment industry, at least on this one important issue.

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