Thursday, January 20, 2005

Now Ringo, that would be an insult

Nancy Fielding, the George Harrison of PolSpy, has been speaking for at least the majority of Canadians in a couple of recent posts about Our Sacred National Identity, a.k.a. universal health care.

She has a range of suggestions, ranging from the sensible to the obvious - or at least that's how they would be described if we hadn't spent the last 40 years being told that they are somehow blasphemous. Good points include:
  • " anything else in life, those with money want more, and they’re willing to pay for it. We should allow them that option."
  • "Maybe the federal government should give Alberta a wide berth. ... [See] if the public system becomes more efficient when all the monied folks go off to the private clinics."
And importantly:
  • "It's time to stop settling for the status quo."

Amen, and pass the portable ultrasound machine. Since I agree with these points entirely, and am grateful that someone who is most certainly not a right-winger is stating them openly, I'm sure she will forgive me for picking at one other statement she makes:
Critics have a point when they say that private health care companies aren’t always good at what they do: They’re not. When health care is transformed from a basic right to a deliverable service / commodity, private managers are more inclined to look at the bottom line than the face of the patient.

I think this sentiment is something that prevents even more people from openly supporting private options, so this bears repeating: Deeming a particular service to be a "basic right", or putting it entirely under the control of government, does not exempt it from the fundamental laws of economics.

Health care most certainly is a service /commodity, whether it's delivered by Ralph Klein, Ralph Fiennes, or Ralph The Dog (Go Stamps!). If demand exceeds supply, then the price has to increase to reduce demand or supply needs to be increased. If neither of these things are permitted to happen, then the supply has to be rationed.

My preference, out of these three options, is "increase supply", seeing as how the other two result in more people dying. And since government has been demonstrably unable to increase supply to meet demand, despite major effort$ in that regard, it's time to relax restrictions on private supply options in Canada.

This is by no means the sum total of arguments in favour of de-state-ifying health care, but I think it's an important one.

So anyways, The Beatles may not have existed without John and Paul, and they got most of the love, but George was just as talented.


At 11:27 p.m., Blogger Sean McCormick said...

We also need to reduce taxation levels. The surgeon who implanted my last pacemaker was in the process of moving to the U.S. where he would pay much lower personal income tax. Low enough to offset the increased malpractice insurance he would have to pay and leave him with pocket change.

Offering private options is nice, but what if there are no doctors left?

At 11:31 p.m., Blogger Sean McCormick said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:55 p.m., Blogger Nancy said...

I agree. Let's make the choices available, and see how the fish bit.

And, thanks.

At 1:55 p.m., Blogger Nancy said...

Bite. See how they bite.



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