THE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM OF MEDICARE
Stories are still abounding over the catastrophe that is headed towards our medical community. One doctor was quoted this week as saying it was facing the perfect storm. According to the Canadian Medical Association, the three ingredients are a chronic shortage of medical personnel, increasing wait times, and a supreme court ruling against the ban on private health insurance. Something has to give, and it shouldn’t be the health of Canadians.
It is important to understand that this situation didn’t just happen. It was made by, and continues to be exacerbated by, bad political decisions.
Canada has talked itself into a hole from which it is finding itself unable to climb out of. We have stood on the international stage for generations praising our “Equal Health Care for All”. To stand up now and admit defeat, or the inability to continue to provide free medical aid for all, would just be too much for our politicians to stomach.
If I sound exuberant about this, you are wrong, I have simply seen this day coming so it is no surprise to me. Had the lights suddenly gone on, perhaps I would sound more anxious. All one has to do, as I have said so many times, is to look at history. Simple fundamentals never change, no matter who you are, or when in history you are living. Socialism does not work.
A look around the globe will show you that socialist states cannot keep the programs they promise for perpetuity. They work for awhile, but costs eventually cripple even the most enthusiastic societies. The reason for this is quite simple. To appreciate the value of something, one has to pay a price for it. Something that one receives for free is seldom appreciated to the same degree as something that one works for. If Canadians had to pay for their health care, or at least a deductible each time it was used, then it would be used much more wisely.
Anything that is run by the state always becomes inefficient. There are no exceptions as the dynamics in play are always the same. As a free service, health care in this country has no driving force to be efficient. Only now as the wheels are falling off are we thinking about it. It is too late. When private enterprise runs something, it is fueled by competition, the need for efficiency, and the constant search for innovation. While Canadians feel that their health system is sacred, it is still nonetheless flat-lining.
We are told that we are facing an aging population, thus a greater burden than ever before is being placed on health care. That is a natural consequence of a dying nation. Canadians are nowhere close to replacing themselves, leaving the need to allow immigration of older citizens. Add to that the fact that our birthrate is abysmally small, and the fact that 105,154 unborn children were murdered in this country last year alone, and one can see the reason for the decay. A nation cannot continue to abort the next generations children whom will contribute to the fabric and economics of a society, and not experience the consequences of those actions. It is simple economics if you wish to be cold and factual. Our ‘choices’ do have consequences.
When the Liberals came to power in the 1990’s, transfer payments were slashed to the provinces. All of the provinces were placed under enormous financial pressure, and many laid off a huge part of their nursing staffs, resulting in horrid conditions for those who were ‘fortunate’ to keep their jobs. They are burnt out, and are retiring in droves. Who can blame them? The result? A diminishing work force, and a severely depressed health care system.
Another result of the huge federal cutbacks was that caps were placed on doctors’ salaries, or where there were already caps, these were stifled. In response, many of our finest physicians fled the country, opting to go to places where they could earn as much as they were able. Such is their choice, and many of us would feel the same way.
For those who condemned their premiers for killing their province’s health care, how do you explain every other province going through the same throes? It was a federal decision to slash spending, and the provinces were left to pick up the pieces and to clean up the mess. Place the blame where it is deserved, Ottawa. Now payments for medical budgets are being increased dramatically, but not enough to stop the massive hemorrhaging.
Maybe it is about time we were given some real freedom in this country. We are smart enough to know how to take care of ourselves. How about some choices in health care? If the public system is so wonderful, won’t it still thrive? Is forcing every Canadian into a state system the only way it can work?
Take education. We allow private schools and the same thing can be said about that. Won’t private schools ruin the public system? If so, maybe the public system isn’t worth keeping. That’s another story in of itself. The fact of the matter is that if the public system was any good, there would be absolutely no demand for a private one. And if it is so wonderful, won’t we flock to our public health centres and forsake the private ones, thus putting them out of business? It’s about time we put some faith behind all the rhetoric. What is everyone so afraid of?
Now for some facts. Facts are good, and don’t lie, politics aside. The Fraser Institute released a report last month and compared health care spending among 27 OECD, or Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, member nations that had a public health system. The numbers speak for themselves.
As a percentage of GDP, Canada came in third for spending the most, behind only Switzerland and Iceland. We have some of the longest waiting lists, and are one of the worst off for doctors per capita, in which we ranked 24th out of 27.
Do you want the clincher? We are the ONLY country out of all 27 where the state forbids its citizens from buying health care services outside of its monopoly. The only one. That is why our system is dying. The current regime steadfastly refuses to open our doors to private enterprise, to healthy old fashioned competition, and the deplorable fact is that they do it for political reasons.
There is one party that would fix this, but they are demonized in the press for it, because those reporting don’t know the facts, and don’t care to.