Monday, February 18, 2008

Canadian Health Care: A health care monopoly

Here's an excerpt from Lorne Gunter's column about Canada's National Health care system titled, Dying To Save 'The System'
For defenders of Canada's government-monopoly health care system, there is only one goal that truly matters. And, no, despite their earnest insistences to the contrary, that goal is not the health of patients. It is the preservation of the public monopoly at all costs, even patients' lives.

This week, the Kawacatoose First Nation, which has an urban reserve on Regina's eastern outskirts, announced it wanted to build a health centre there with its own money. Among other things, the band wants to buy a state-of-the-art MRI machine and perform diagnostic tests on Saskatchewanians -- aboriginal and non-aboriginal-- who currently face some of the longest waits for scans in the country.

This should be a win-win: Aboriginals show entrepreneurial initiative, without any financial obligation on the part of the federal or provincial government, and create well-paying high-tech jobs for natives who desperately need them, while at the same time easing the wait for MRI tests in Saskatchewan that can now run to six or even 12 months.

Each year, hundreds or even thousands of Saskatchewan residents -- mostly middle-class -- drive across the border into North Dakota and pay their own money for scans rather than wait for one at home. The Kawacatoose proposal would give them a much closer alternative.

So what was the reaction of the opposition NDP in Saskatchewan? Restrained contempt and veiled fear-mongering.

The restraint was a result only of the fact that this proposal was coming from aboriginals. Had a private, non-native company suggested the same thing, Saskatchewan's opposition socialists would have been screaming from the rooftops that greedy insurance companies and health profiteers are lurking under every hospital bed ready to prey on unsuspecting patients the moment they get the green light.