Monday, July 2, 2018

Opinion : Universal Health Care message to Americans

Medicare in its first inception really tapped into Canadians emotions the Canada Health Act in esponse to filling the gap tapped into Canadians emotions I think the response of Canadians are having now to the battle that's going down in the United States taps into Canadian emotions they object to the misrepresentation is characterization of the Canadian system by a lot of the American opponents I'm talking about the real Medicare program in Canada not the one that some of you might have seen being portrayed by insurance company lobbyists and some other how should I describe but political ideologues in the battle taking place in the United States the commercials really have been quite hair-raising if you've been watching them in fact I just got back from a panel in Ottawa a few days ago where American congressmen were there and to listen to some of the arguments being advanced but the commercial that really got me is the one that has an examination room with three people in it the doctor the patient and the government bureaucrat shaking his head saying no to the doctrine to the patient you know the argument the doctors are going to be interfered by some politicians in between of course they forget to mention that this is not the situation in Canada and they forget to conveniently overlook that the majority of Canadians in fact 86 percent rate the quality of their health care system today as high and are extremely satisfied with their health care services all the polls show that
Canadians confidence in their system has not eroded it's better it's higher than it was 10 years ago and we take it almost as a source of amusement and national pride that the Americans don't get it and if they want to use our system as a whipping boy in their own propaganda Wars it's mildly rritating it does harm Americans

I think that's the worst thing it doesn't harm Canadians at harms Americans and we should hope for our American brothers and sisters that they get it right but I for one don't much care about what right-wing superstitions Americans want to put out there about our healthcare system because ultimately they're the ones who suffer from their own ignorance our Canadian health care system costs about 10% of GDP and it's been like that for the last yawns and it's predicted to be like that for the next at least four years if you look at the u.s. it's about 15% of their GDP and it's looking to go up to 18% in the next few years so if you want to put it for an individual Canada spends per capita about $300 per Canadian for our healthcare system while the u.s. spends a thousand per capita just in the dollar cents and us everyone is covered we don't have a million people with no coverage at all so just in the dollars sense it makes sense to have a public system publicly financed administered and delivered and then there's fairness there's when I'm worried about my son or my mother I know they will be taking care of regardless of their level of income nobody in the US can say that and being a nurse a lot of my friends went in the 80's 90's when we had no jobs they went and trying to work in the u.s.

it was very difficult when you had to take care of a patient and ask for a credit card first or health insurance card we don't do that in Canada we take care of you and we make sure that you're okay and that your family is okay we know that there are studies that that emphasize the efficiencies of a single-payer system and of course we're always chastised about not wanting to look to too much to the United States but it's hard to ignore the largest for-profit health care market in the world just south of us we're thirty one cents of every dollar that spent on health care goes to administrative fees in our single payer insurance programs in the provinces it's one point three cents one of the things that Canadian doctors for Medicare really focuses on is an extension of the the concept of evidence-based medicine that we use in practice to evidence-based policy don't go with the flavor of the day look at what has worked what works best in other countries what works best your own context and apply that and certainly do not be afraid of a collective approach to providing health care because it has worked very well here we have flaws and we have things to work on but I think if you just look at the data our outcomes are better our patient satisfaction is better and we actually spend a lot less money per capita doing it every bit of data we have would indicate that their biggest game is going to be going to a single-payer system and my suggestion respectful to them would be that trying to get there incrementally is like trying to cross a chasm in two steps and if they did that alone they would be looking at 25 to 30 percent savings monetary savings in the system which would provide all kinds of opportunities for innovations and so on fundamentally I think that there is a recognition on the part of many Americans that health access to health care should be a human right and that it's not a market good to be treated like any other commodity but somehow the system has taken on a life of its own in that country and it's it's very difficult to get a handle on

I think my primary message to the people the United States is that I really believe this is a time for courage and it's not a moment to take tiny steps or baby steps but that the it seems to me that the American population has indicated a readiness for a real change in the way that the health care system works and they need to grasp that opportunity now and and go for change with a capital C you know what I would do I would sum it up in three words if I was President Obama so pretentious for me to say I get up every morning and at every press conference say Medicare for everyone now in the United States Medicare of course deals with that program which is basically reserved for seniors 65 years of age and / they love it they know it works it's a government plan it's not identical to Canada's but they would not want to see it gone and I think that those who don't have Medicare because are not their age yet and those on Medicaid on welfare who are really the victims of all of this and the whole system seems to be victimizing its people that would resonate with them it would mean something Medicare for everyone you can attach the other arguments moral arguments and also economic political arguments it's the right thing to do a society should look after it's least strong its most vulnerable sectors but Medicare for everyone and if I would be so presumptuous one last comment no major battle of this nature as we had in Saskatchewan when Douglas implemented Medicare as Pearson had it when he implemented Medicare as Trudeau had it when he had the County Health Act no major political battle can be won without strong decisive leadership at the top political level making the message clear and the argument solid as to why their citizenry should supported

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