Friday, December 02, 2005

Ur? uh? huh? Room for private service

I just don't get it - the CBC reported today, that there is a question whether there should be room for private enterprise in our health care system.

I'll have to ask my cataract surgeon and the local medical clinic I use for family-style health care issues. But I strongly suspect neither if them is an enterprise owned by the government. Of course they bill all the covered services to the state, as makes sense in a single-payer system. But hang on - I actually bought special lenses to replace my cataract-ridden natrural lenses and spent a good whack of money to get them - I seriously doubt that money went to the state - I hope it went to my surgeon as an entrepreneur and to her suppliers in some proportion. No doubt the innovation to produce those lenses occurred outside Canada.

Don Newman of the CBC just got the distinction correctly in a discussion of Stephen Harper's speech today. He asks sensibly, "Why does it matter whether the delivery is private or public?". Sadly, the Conservative mumbled, and the current Health Minister simply wandered off and answered another question. The level of dishonesty here, in all parties, is phenomenal. Weirdly, only Bill Blaikie of the NDP answers sensibly, recognizing that there is a ton of existing private service. And actually, his answers are better than the totally inane objection Layton produced in one of the debates in the last campaign - that the private clinics were more costly than publicly-owned ones. Well, were that the case in a fee-for-service based system, the private ones would have trouble surviving so this is a 'problem' that would solve itself.

Why oh why cannot anyone speak honestly about this? Maybe it will come. I can sense Don Newman (a quality reporter, so unlike so many of his colleagues) trying to force this out.

We shall see. It is a long campaign and maybe the lights cannot stay out for a whole two months.


Post a Comment

<< Home