Two Tier Health Systems

Summer 2005 CSANews Issue 55  |   Posted date : May 20, 2007.Back to list

Bird talk - Le Jaseur
Dear Bird Talk,

I read the letter from a member that included a letter from their physician saying he was quitting practice because he could no longer tolerate the conditions under which he had to work for OHIP (Spring 2005, Issue 54). Obviously, the reasons are very disturbing though it has to be said in no uncertain terms that Canadians have but themselves to blame. There can be no change to this disintegrating system because anyone who suggests change is on the receiving end of abuse. Politicians do not like to be in such a position and so tinker with it without actually solving the problem. It certainly can be improved if Canadians would rid themselves of myopia and look to other English speaking countries which have a system that seems to works better. Take Australia for instance. There the government says it has so much money for health care and allocates it appropriately, though there are insufficient funds to satisfy the total demand and to fully occupy the physicians and surgeons available. So the citizens have a choice: they can join a waiting list and have procedures done at government expense when their turn comes up, or they can go private and have it done very much sooner. It should be noted that what could happen is that the physician is working for government pay in the morning and completing his working day by doing the same procedures for private patients in the afternoon. It seems to work satisfactorily and gripes are few, as every one knows that real emergencies are always at the top of the list and the physicians and surgeons receive better recompense and are fully occupied.

Further, in the U.K., where all this universal health care began, at least for some of the First World English speaking countries, there has always been a two-tier system which has helped to keep waiting lists down to some degree.

It is my view that these other systems should be reviewed and the best features adopted in Canada. But it probably will not happen, as the citizens see our faulty and failing system as being without blemish. Further, we have no strong politicians who will shoulder the abuse and force some form of two-tier system into being. So the true medical professionals will continue to be frustrated and leave the system, making it worse than it is now, just as the great rush of the baby boomers will be entering. What an awful prospect we have ahead.

Yours Truly,
P.J. Benn

Response:
There has been a systemic program, primarily by governments, to paint any form of private involvement in health care as a national disaster. This is patently untrue! Who do you think can build a hospital better, the government or the private sector? We are all too aware of government cost overruns and friends that get lucrative government contracts. If a private company owns an MRI machine and the government pays for its usage, is that a crime? Is it not better to have an MRI machine available, period? There is currently a Canada-wide rationing of health care and drugs that is endangering people's lives. I believe all the systems of other countries have been endlessly reviewed already, and it is time for action. I, for one, would gladly pay to have an intensive review of my health using the latest technology. Perhaps you have all seen the full page colour ads in our daily newspapers enticing you to go to Michigan to do just that. They were originally in black and white, but I guess the response from Canadians was strong enough to enable them to afford the much more expensive colour ads. Can we not keep those dollars in Canada? Did you know that many of our top physicians have offices in Boston or New York, as well as in Canada? Salary caps, of course. This is my own personal opinion on a very complex issue, but I believe it is shared by many Canadians and all we need are a few farsighted politicians to light the torch and run with it.

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