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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Tiers and tiers of health care

Paul and Kate--

Your posts about Canadian doctors' stockpiling medication against the day when Canada is hit by a bird flu pandemic illustrates really well just how hypocritical Canada is about "universal health care."

Who in their right mind wouldn't use all the resources at their disposal to make certain a family member gets the best care available?  And who would criticize someone for doing so?  Only those who haven't had a family member in a situation made untenable by Canadian health "care."  I've heard stories of people leveraging political contacts so a family member could jump the queue and get a diagnostic test or a life-saving surgery.  Or, parlaying a network of friends working in health care -- physicians and nurses -- to find out where waiting lists in that province are shortest.

And then, there's the border business in health care, maybe liveliest in southwestern Ontario where Michigan and upstate New York clinics and hospitals regularly target potential Canadian customers for MRIs, colostomies (yes, "colostomies"), and other procedures in print ads.

I blogged, here, about the Supremes' ruling on Chaouilli.  Whatever one thinks of this ruling and its implications for judicial activism, the ruling has the potential to trigger a debate on universal health care.  That is, if someone has the guts to push it.

The next federal election could be run on this issue.  But will it?  That's the question.

(Cross-posted to Burkean Canuck).

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on June 25, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


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I hope the Conservatives are drafting the "Paul Martin would invoke the notwithstanding clause to deny Canadians their charter rights to security of person".

Posted by: Kate | 2005-06-25 12:21:24 PM

Making an election issue out of health care would be a messy business. I think there is a very poor consensus over definitions, like 'two-tier health care', etc. Without a general understanding of what the terms even mean, how do you get a decent debate going?

In many minds two-tier is bad, so all PMPM has to do is say 'Liberals won't allow that!', and many will follow them like lemmings. We've seen it before, like GST = bad, and NAFTA = bad. What the Libs actually DO is a totally different manner, however, but why should they care as long as the election is won? Sadly, many Canadians are simply not put off by the lying.

I don't mean to sound cynical, but I've seen the pattern too many times. If someone can make it work as a platform, then Godspeed.

Posted by: jon | 2005-06-25 3:05:19 PM

Russ I am not so sure you are going to see a big debate on health care. I think the ball is already rolling in some provinces on private health and there is no turning back, Dosanji notwithstanding. Its basically consumer driven and there is definitely a market. I think its now unstoppable.

Posted by: MikeP | 2005-06-25 3:33:59 PM

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