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  • I Don’t Want to be Sick in Canada

    Posted by James R. Rummel on May 31st, 2004 (All posts by )

    We’ve got an election in full swing down here in the US. Lots of noise and fury, plenty of sound bites and photo ops. It’s quit the show.

    But other countries have elections. They’re going to have one in Canada pretty soon.

    So Collin May over at Innocents Abroad is covering the Canadian election. He’s already put up three posts about it, and they really summarize the issues pretty well. Worth a read if you want to know what’s going on without much effort.

    In this post, Collin defines the campaign strategy of the Liberal Party, which is currently the ruling party up in the frozen North.

    “The Liberal tactics, at least as far as the Conservatives are concerned, is to paint the party and especially the leader as a redneck right-winger who will push Canada toward a more American style of government.”

    What exactly do they mean by that, “…a more American style of government”?

    That’s made clear in Collin’s second post, where he says……

    ”The Canadian election campaign has just gotten underway and Prime Minister Paul Martin has already played the hallowed Health Care card.”

    ”…he wants to use health care to scare voters away from the Conservatives. And how better to do it than to trot out that old Canadian fear of being like the US? During a speech in Atlantic Canada, Martin said that the choice is simple: either you have low taxes and private (i.e. poor) health care, or you have higher taxes and good health care.”

    Private health care is poor health care? I suppose you have to be a Canadian to figure that one out.

    But you don’t have to be Canadian to figure out that socialized health care systems are having trouble. Corruption, mismanagement and general inefficiency have screwed things up so much that Canadian patients are left behind when it comes to medical care. This site is a good place to start if you’re interested in finding out about the problems, and it even has a section devoted to Canada’s problems.

    In his final post to date, Collin explains why the Liberals need to keep playing the health care card. It would appear that Canadian society is very factional, with each province having their own concerns and issues. But the one thing they can all agree on is that they want universal health care.

    So is the American system all that far from universal health care? Myria over at It Can’t Rain All the Time doesn’t think so. Due to a good friend who’s tragically stricken with cancer, Myria has seen the effects of our insurance based system. She thinks that private insurance can’t handle long-term illness that require expensive treatments, so the government is called on to foot the bill. This has started us down the slippery slope, and the huge numbers of aging Baby Boomers will not allow us to do anything but go along for the ride. (The stuff I’m quoting is at the bottom of the post, but it’s worth your time to read it all.)

    ”The cost of Medicare is going to skyrocket over the next few decades, this hopefully isn’t news to much of anyone. Skyrocket is really too mild a term when you realize that virtually anyone with these sorts of catastrophic illnesses – illnesses that become exponentially more common as one ages – ends up on Medicare sooner rather than later. The cost of Medicare is going to rise at a rate that will quickly exceed C”

    Myria thinks that the great advantage to a socialized system is that it provides rationing of scarce medical resources. Except that rationing already exists in the American health care system, it’s just not very formalized. An article on the front page of the Wall Street Journal last year detailed how it works. (Sorry, no link. I’m not a subscriber.) Low level administrators and the health care professionals who deal with the patients every day make decisions based on who has the best chance of survival, and who will have the best quality of life. This way scarce medical resources are more likely to do the most good.

    This might seem to be heartless and arbitrary, but is it any different from the systems in place in countries that have socialized medicine?

     

    4 Responses to “I Don’t Want to be Sick in Canada”

    1. Scott Says:

      Not to take away from your excellent post, James, but folks might also like to periodically check the Mader brothers’ most excellent blog for Canadian politics:

      http://www.maderblog.com/

      –scott

    2. Sandy P Says:

      Maybe we should just use one of the storylines from ST:TNG – once you hit 60, time to leave.

      Solves the boomer problem.

    3. ralph Says:

      The unintended consequence of the war on tobacco.

    4. Really Old Lee Says:

      A final solution, Sandy?