There are few sacred-cows that have been more carefully crafted and fiercely protected than that of Canada’s health care system.
Tommy Douglas has been essentially canonized as a founder of our system and it is considered blasphemy to dare even consider questioning the merit of the system. Politicians and journalists alike are pilloried should they ever dare suggest that Canada’s health system may not be the best one on the entire planet. If health system issues should ever arise, the only appropriate response to the zealous is the addition of more funding. Systemic change is simply unacceptable.
Now back to reality. The World Health Organization used to publish comprehensive rankings of health systems based on accessibility, cost and outcomes. Unfortunately they have not done this since 2000. In their last ranking though, Canada was 30th and dropping like a stone when compared to other nations. Considering we have changed nothing systemically in the last 10 years, it can be safely assumed that the trend has continued.
The most successful systems in the world have involved a mixture of public and private involvement while maintaining universal access. This is not conjecture. This is documented fact. The only other systems that legislate such a degree of government monopoly in them as Canada are North Korea and Cuba. I assure you those countries are not good models to follow.
When the word “private” is used almost immediately people begin chirping about the American system. There should almost be some form of “Godwin’s law” that applies to the insertion of the big bad American boogyman in healthcare discussion. As soon as some fool takes the leap to bring up the American system, they immediately shall have been deemed to have lost the debate.
I am going to expose the big secret here: THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF HEALTH SYSTEMS IN THE WORLD AND DOZENS OF THEM ARE SUPERIOR TO THE CANADIAN AND AMERICAN ONES!!
Protectors of the status-quo (usually unions) constantly try to shut down discussion by trying to polarize debate. It is simply shallow and foolish to assume that Canada and the USA are the only two health-care systems in the world yet if we look at most Canadian discussion it would appear that way.
Another secret is that we have private provision all over the place. There are countless private labs, clinics and yes even hospitals in operation in Canada. Unfortunately, these facilities are still constrained by our inflexible system and often have to be almost snuck into the system by politicians who realize the need for expansion of our provision options but are afraid to dare question the sanctity of the status-quo.
We need to rip down this facade and have a real discussion. Hysterics and demonization of all who dare question the status-quo is harming us all.
We all have to ask ourselves; what is more important; the outcomes or personal ideology?
This is what it comes down to. The outright dismissal of private involvement is an ideology. The polarization of the discussion is an ideology. The self-blinding to all other discussion is an ideology.
We need to open the discussion and look to the best systems if we want to improve our own. I was impressed with Danielle Smith in last night’s debate in her being willing to entertain examining other means of health provision while the other 3 leaders stuck to the cowardly and closed minded defense of the unsustainable and failing status-quo. The whispered and shouted fearmongering continue about the Wildrose Party as ideologues dismiss any notion of real solutions and try to quell all discussion.
We need to stop the politics of envy, fear and division so that we can have a frank examination of our healthcare system based on what can lead to the best outcomes rather than the zealous and closeminded approach that we have had so far. Healthcare consistently ranks at the top of people’s concerns in politics yet it is the issue with which we are the most reticent in discussion.
Take off the ideological blinders and pursue what works best. It really is as simple as that. I am optimistic that a Wildrose government may be willing to be the first in a long time to do so.