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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Michael Ignatieff on health care

Michael Ignatieff is smart guy. No matter what else you think of him or his policies, you cannot plausibly deny that he is extremely intelligent. So I am puzzled by his recent comments on health care reform.

Dr. Ignatieff says that he will make Health Care a priority for his hypothetical Liberal government. He also attacks Mr. Harper by saying, “"Four years of this Conservative government, we've really done nothing substantial on health care."

Maybe Dr. Ignatieff should take a second look at the Constitution Act. The federal government isn’t supposed to do anything on health care. That is a responsibility of the provinces. If he wants to make health care a priority maybe he should run to be premier not prime minister.

I find it bizarre that a leader of a liberal democracy is being attacked by the opposition for obeying the constitution.

I say again that Dr. Ignatieff is a smart man so I have to assume that he has some basic knowledge on how the Canadian federal system operates. This means that I have to also assume that his comments about health care are not really policy declarations but empty political rhetoric.

This assumption is reinforced by the nature of his proposals. Dr. Ignatieff starts off by saying the current system is unsustainable. Then he says that he won’t make any substantive change except for refocusing on preventative care. The idea being that it will lessen the health care demand which is straining the system.

Preventative care is good and all but it isn’t really a solution to the looming health care crisis. The population is aging and older people will always need more health care. How exactly do you prevent people from getting old? So with no power to reform health care and no real reforms being proposed, Dr. Ignatieff thinks he can win the next election on health care rhetoric alone.

I think the Canadian people are smarter than that.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on September 4, 2010 in Canadian Politics | Permalink

Comments

I think you oversestimate the intellect of Ignatieff and the Canadian electorate.

Posted by: Cytotoxic | 2010-09-04 11:43:56 AM


Rather than relying on the Constitution Act, keeping the federal government non involved in the provincial health care systems, the Feds use their interpretations of the principles of the Canada Health Act to prevent Provinces from innovating and allowing private delivery systems from evolving with some minor exceptions. Transfer payments (or the lack thereof) are the mechanisms used to date to keep the provinces "in line". Political success is more a product of nuance and perception than intelligence. Iggy is likely very intelligent but would perhaps have difficulty following consequences beyond first stage.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2010-09-04 12:16:56 PM


Don't feel bad. Here in the US, we haven't figured out health care either. Costs keep going up and the new reform changes aren't going to help.

Does Canada have HSA Accounts?

Posted by: Pa Health Rates | 2010-09-04 2:01:40 PM


Pa Health Rates

Canada does not have Health Savings Accounts because, in theory, you aren't allowed to spend your own money on your own health care, including private insurance for basic health care. If you spend more than $1500.00 on health care in one year (for example: by going to the US for timely treatment), you can claim it as a tax credit.

Canada's system was premised on providing care for the poor with little thought of creating excellence. Reform is impossible due to structural, monopoly and union-driven sloth protected by the politics of hatred, resentment and envy (socialism).

The US system has excellence within but at great and increasing cost. Mandates, non-competing state regulation, litigiousness, employer-based over-coverage, and now insurance risk pools being destroyed by Obama Care (leading, by design to single payer) are all responsible.

The best system (perfect doesn't exist) would be one that maximizes the customer-provider relationship (lost where third parties are paying the bills). Most people could afford private insurance when there is competition, lack of state and federal mandates, tort reform, and where customers have skin in the game (high deductibles). Individuals should have independence from employer based plans to encourage long term continuity within risk pools. Vouchers for high risk pools could assist the poor and disadvantaged. HSAs would be very useful to fill the risk-expense gap which widens with age, allowing for higher deductibles while keeping premiums affordable to the elderly.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2010-09-04 4:21:07 PM


Come on.
Harper has been a God send to the Provinces. Not only has he funded healthcare transfers fully, (unlike Paul Martin who cut transfers, can you just imagine, during the last big recession.), and Harper has also lowered the GST, and the Provinces are taking up the slack with a HST (so they can pay off the recession spending.)
---
That puts them in a good place to continue with wait time reductions. (I must say I don't wait long when I go to a walk in clinic.)
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Iggy is way off base on most subjects, he also says we don't need planes for an Airforce, and don't need Jails for criminals. Who new.

Posted by: Scott_G | 2010-09-05 12:35:52 AM


Where is Ignatieff relying on rhetoric alone?

You want specific ideas? Drop the writ.

p.s. "Michael Ignatieff is smart guy". Proofread much?

Posted by: Bill | 2010-09-05 7:53:39 AM


"I think the Canadian people are smarter than that"

do ya?

Posted by: Shel | 2010-09-05 8:09:17 PM


Historically, the Canadian government has been involved in overarching health programs such as Participaction, which is a program intended to get people to become more active. Prevention programs are similar in scope as they are not the hands on delivery of treatment, but rather high level programs intended to reduce the incidence of illness. In terms of dollars spent, effective prevention programs are one of the most efficient ways of reducing health care costs. The only argument here is how to be most effective in prevention.

Particularly with an older average population, getting them to take preventative steps involving lifestyle changes, dietary changes and more activity will reduce health costs. Reducing the costs of treatment, on the other hand, is a far more difficult task that depends on advances in science.

Posted by: Wellescent Health Blog | 2010-09-06 3:25:42 PM


Historically, the Canadian government has been involved in overarching health programs such as Participaction, which is a program intended to get people to become more active. Prevention programs are similar in scope as they are not the hands on delivery of treatment, but rather high level programs intended to reduce the incidence of illness. In terms of dollars spent, effective prevention programs are one of the most efficient ways of reducing health care costs. The only argument here is how to be most effective in prevention.

Particularly with an older average population, getting them to take preventative steps involving lifestyle changes, dietary changes and more activity will reduce health costs. Reducing the costs of treatment, on the other hand, is a far more difficult task that depends on advances in science.

Posted by: levothyroxine | 2010-11-09 4:46:55 AM



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