Thursday, October 14, 2004

He's back, and as usual, he's right

Good to see Andrew Coyne back devoting some time to web-based commentary. His take yesterday on Quebec's new private clinic and the Canada Health Act (ÞLet It Bleed) sensibly comes to this conclusion on the CHA: "For good or ill, it has become a dead letter."

The gist of his post, even if you dispute his explicit conclusion, supports an argument both he and I made in July, which amounts to this: there is no excuse for any province to blame the federal government for the state of their own health care system. Consider:

1) No province has identified any particular service they would stop providing in the absence of the Canada Health Act
2) Now, no province can say that the CHA is preventing them from running any kind of health service which they would otherwise be offering or permitting

Health care, constitutionally, belongs to the provinces. There is no evidence that the feds will prevent any province from running their own health care system however they damn well please. Again, the only quarrel any province could have with the feds is that they overtax, preventing said province from raising its own taxes to pay for its health system.

Of course, no province will make this argument directly, because it requires them to (A) acknowledge that there is such a thing as an optimum (or maximum!) tax burden on its citizens, and (B) concede that its citizens are already paying it.

We are no doubt in for more months and years of political BS and bafflegab before any of these plain truths are spoken. It's mind-blowing, because we have a serious problem confronting us in the future of public health care, and every political pronouncement and new piece of legislation in the past 5 years seems specifically designed to deny it and make it worse. It seems appropriate to conclude with Tarantino's words on this same topic:

"..we are currently governed by liars and hypocrites of a breed so refined it beggars the imagination."


At 11:41 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that I agree with Coyne's conclusion that the Federal Government will no longer dare to enforce the Canada Health Act. It doesn't really seem to follow from his argument since, as he notes, the MD-Plus Medical clinic doesn't violate the Canada Health Act.

I entirely agree with the both of you, however, that it exposes the hypocricy of both the right and the left.

The Liberals pretend that they are opposed to private delivery, and the CPC and the provinces pretend that the CHA prevents them from doing it.

Sadly, if one side would just step up to the plate, they would probably come off smelling like roses.

- jass


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