Latest in a series
The Monger, MD, points us to an exchange of letters, involving doctors, in the Post. Doctor A says he's moving to the U.S. because he believes the hand of government is negatively impacting his ability to practice in Ontario. Citizen B says that's not fair, because the government trained him to be a doctor with some of their dimes, and A shouldn't be allowed to just bolt. Citizen C, MD, comes back with this:
Mr. Fulton [Citizen B] seems to suggest that candidates for Canadian medical schools sign an agreement requiring a commitment to stay and practise in Canada for a period of time. This is an evolution from the view of physicians as private agents for their patients and their own interests. Does he really want physicians serving the collective goals of a publicly funded health care system?
E. Klimek, MD, St. Catharines, Ont.
The Monger calls this "the single best question I think I have ever seen, addressed to proponents of Medical Socialism". I would agree that it's valuable, insofar that it's a point that can't be made often enough in our present situation. The error here, if I may be so bold as to contradict someone who is clearly smarter than me, is in the characterization of the question.
That ostensibly rhetorical question by Dr. Klimek is not a winning argument on the issue - it is the issue. If any significant portion of the population saw an inherent contradiction in having "physicians serving the collective goals of a publicly funded health care system", we wouldn't be in the kind of mess we're in. But they most obviously do not! ("Doctors want everyone to be healthy, so does the government, so what's the problem?") Probably even 1/2 of the Post readers read Dr. Klimek's question and said, "sure, why not?"
The McGuinty/OMA deal on incentives for reducing prescriptions a few months ago is a perfect example of this, and demonstrates the gulf between the true believers in Our Sacred National Identity and the market reformers. There are two kinds of people in Canada (both of whom were offended by this deal). The first looks at the government bribing doctors to reduce the amount of prescriptions she writes, and thinks, this is the inevitable consequence of increasing demand for a monopoly funded by finite resources. The second looks at it and thinks the only problem is the sum of the finite resources.
Worst of all, and I know the Monger shares some of this frustration, is that the Medical Associations seem only too happy to throw their lot in with group #2. Their reward for this is that now a large segment of their patients view them as agents of the state, rationing their care in accordance with the available government supply. The doctor/patient relationship has, on average, been seriously devalued. Anyone else noticed that despite living in the Best System In The World, the only time you hear the phrase, "that's between the patient and their doctor", rhetorically or otherwise, is concerning abortion?
Which I suppose can segue to today's conclusion, though unoriginal. We may already have a health care model in place that could scale up, that being the model for abortion care (probably not the right phrase). Let's see - mix of private and public clinics. Relatively timely care on the public side despite the existence of timelier private care. The choice of accepting government service on their timetable, or paying your own hard-earned scratch for service on your timetable. No one is denied an abortion because of an inability to pay.
Is anyone opposed to this model besides the health unions?