Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

12 October 2009

The Private Health Care Option in Canada

Kim Murphy wrote a great article about the movement in British Columbia in Canada to private health care called In Canada, a move toward a private healthcare option.  The 1984 Canada Health Act established the national insurance system called Medicare in Canada.  It made most private health insurance illegal.  But, in 2005 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the laws in Quebec that outlawed private insurance were in violation of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.  In Quebec, it was a violation of human rights to force people to wait on wait lists until they died, but it was OK to die while waiting in the rest of Canada.

British Columbians are a bit more independent-minded than are many other Canadians.  As a result, a network of illegal private clinics and surgical centers has developed there to take people off the very long waiting lists for health care not considered essential in Canada.  This means health care which is not immediately life-threatening or screaming painful.  For anyone not fitting this legitimate need for healthcare, Brian Day, head of a private surgical center in Vancouver, says "What we have in Canada is access to a government, state-mandated wait list.  You cannot force a citizen in a free and democratic society to simply wait for healthcare, and outlaw their ability to extricate themselves from a wait list."

Other Canadians say "Yes, you can."  Allowing doctors and other health care workers to provide health care in private facilities only means that the wait lists will become longer, since those doctors and health care workers will not be available.  Ahh.... the logic!  Health care workers and doctors must be slaves and kept at the oars at all times.  Slavery returns to the Western Hemisphere and Canada sets the lead in this effort.

An Arizona businessman, Melvin J. Howard, has filed a $160 million lawsuit under the North American Free Trade Agreement demanding that U.S. health care companies have the freedom to operate in Canada!  He has a consortium that wants to build the largest private health center in Canada in Vancouver.  They would provide orthopedics, plastic surgery, general surgery, and other services.

British Columbia has a $360 million shortfall in its $15.7 billion health care budget for the fiscal year ending in March.  The present waiting lists will get longer as a result.  The Vancouver Island Health Authority will reduce non-emergency MRIs by 20%.  These non-emergency MRIs are already being scheduled for March.  Vancouver Coastal Health, serving 0.25 of the province's population, will eliminate 450 elective surgeries, or 30% of those scheduled during the 4 weeks of the 2010 Winter Olympics.  If you have to cut back, you might as well let the doctors go to the Olympics, while many patients continue flopping about in front of Olympic visitors in pain below the screaming threshold required to be considered an emergency case.  In the fast-growing eastern suburbs of Vancouver, the Fraser Health Authority will close its budget gap by holding the number of MRIs to last year's number, reducing expenditures by $550,000 on services for seniors, reducing elective surgeries by 14%, and other cost reductions.

This crumbling government health care system does not want a private competitor, so it is going to court to try to put the private health care companies out of business.  Dr. Robert Woollard, has applied to be a part of this lawsuit against the private companies.  He says the public system is responsive and provides quality care to those who truly need it.  He says, "Just six or eight weeks ago, I had a patient come in who needed urgent attention to her knee.  She was in severe pain.  She was seen by a [reviewing] team within a week, and she was slated for surgery that will probably happen in the next two to three months."  Apparently this is considered great service by some!!!!

Meanwhile, Christina Woodkey of Calgary has had a problem of pain in her hip.  She was put on a wait list for a year and saw the doctor in January, who told her she had a narrowing of the spine that caused the pain.  She was put given an appointment to see a back specialist on 30 September.  Given that appointment, she asked when she might actually have surgery.  She was told it would be about one and a half years after seeing the doctor.  Despite having no insurance, it being outlawed, she went to Montana and had the $50,000 surgery done in two days.  She is very happy that the pain is now almost entirely gone, though paying for the surgery will take her some time.

So, 4 - 5 months is great for essential surgery and about 3.75 years is acceptable for non-essential surgery in Canada.  This non-essential surgery is not breast enlargement surgery, but surgery for real pain elimination.  ObamaCare's desire is to replicate this Canadian system here in the Home of the Brave, the Land of the Free.  Hogwash.  We must disobey the laws that set up any such tyranny over our right to our own bodies and fundamentally to our own lives.  We must make Gandhi and his Indian followers look like pikers as we are all marched off to jails until they overflow and then we are put into concentration camps.  This usurper must not be allowed to trample our most fundamental right to life and our beloved Constitution.


Anonymous said...

I was enjoying your take on health care issues until this statement:

"ObamaCare's desire is to replicate this Canadian system here..."

Now, I suspect everything else you have said in the article is erroneous.

Nevada, USA

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Perhaps you could speak to the ways in which ObamaCare differs.

In the short run, there are plenty of ways in which ObamaCare does differ. The key thing to understand is that it is designed as a means to ease us into a government-run health care system which will be very much like the Canadian and British health care systems. ObamaCare is a clearly unsustainable system and as it leads to a breakdown of the remains of a private health care system, the government will always be ready to take over further and further parts of the private system until it is gone.

Of course, it is clear that I have little confidence in the government seeing the error of its way and reversing course. You, despite the historic expansion of government throughout the 20th and 21st Centuries, may optimistically think it will not continue this process. Would that you should be right, but I am wanting some evidence of that.

Lorne Marr said...

The main problem is the lack of doctors. I'm pretty positive that if the numbers of doctors would double (at least) the system would be "fixed" and there would no longer be waiting lists and thus no more unhappy people. Maybe it sounds a bit childish but yet it could be so easy to solve. More doctors. Anyways, check out my article on how brokers are paid, maybe you'll find that interesting. Thanks for your article.

Take care, Lorne

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Of course having enough good doctors is bound to be a problem for a nationalized health care system. It always is.

We always have a shortage of doctors due to the government licensing requirements for doctors and the limits on medical schools, which are largely due to government policy. Government then wants to control costs in nationalized systems, so it squeezes the doctor's fees and limits their services. It smothers them in paperwork. It treats them like would-be felons. It has panels of bureaucrats tell them what to do, robbing them of the use of their professional judgment informed by their time with the actual patient.

Why would a competent, professionally-minded person want to be a doctor under such circumstances? I sure would not want to be one!