Sunday, May 06, 2007

Romanow and the great health care myths

Big labour and the big apologists for monopoly health care had wagon circling event in Saskatchewan this week. Roy Romanow says in order to turn the tide against choice in health care they must "defeat the myths" about Canada's health care system.

What are those myths?

Romanow myth number one:

The first myth is that there is a single medical system in Canada. Rather, there are 13, Romanow argued, with one in each province and territory. While the federal government provides funding for all, each is run independently with Ottawa avoiding holding provinces accountable for the money it has provided. Also independent are hospitals, health regions and even physicians who Romanow explained act as contractors.

Secondly, Romanow said health care in Canada is not exclusively publicly funded. There is a mix of public and private spending with governments providing for hospital and physician care, while other areas such as prescription drugs, are jointly paid for by individuals and private insurers as well as governments. Other areas, such as dental and vision care, are paid out of pocket by individuals either through private insurance premiums or, for those who don't have private insurance, from one's paycheque.

Wow. Earth shattering revelations! Romanow needs to stop blowing smoke. If I can't purchase my own health care insurance to get medical services in my own country, the mix of "public versus private funding" is completely irrelevant. If I don't have the reasonable ability to get a sick parent the care he needs, what difference does the fact we actually have 13 health systems make? The Canada Health Act forces them all to be the same anyway.

Romanow's myth number 2:
The myth that government spending on medicare is spiraling out of control can be disputed by looking at the publicly funded health care's share of Canada's gross domestic product which Romanow said remains consistent at 10 per cent. He also said health-care spending is not crowding governments' ability to spend on other social areas.

Whenever someone tells me I should look at something as a ratio instead of real dollars, I get nervous. That's because one side of the ratio, in this case, is how productive I am. If the bill for the disaster of a public monopoly health system is growing 5 times faster that inflation what difference does it make if I got raise during that time? GDP is measure of the total value of the goods and services sold in the country. What Romanow is really saying is they can always go back to the taxpayer for more cash and he wouldn't be worse for wear. After all, he just got a big fat raise!

Thanks for nothing, Roy.

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