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The Little Health Care System That Couldn't

 
 
Scrat
 
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 09:54 am
The Supreme Court of Canada has just struck down a Quebec law banning private medical insurance and it seems likely that they will upend similar laws in other provinces. (Canada is the only nation other than Cuba and North Korea that bans private health insurance.) The decision came in a case brought by a pain-ridden patient in need of a hip replacement who was put on a one year waiting list for the procedure, and his doctor.

Whatever positive aspects their may be to Canada's vaunted universal health care system, what justification can there be for forbidding citizens from going outside the system and purchasing the care they need on the private market if they so choose? (At least and at last, it appears that the SCoC sees no justification for same.)
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 5,026 • Replies: 81
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 09:56 am
Welcome back, Scrat.

Do you happen to know if they are able to buy health care directly; that is, without insurance being involved?
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Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 10:08 am
I realize that knocking Canada's health-care system is great sport for conservatives in this country.

That's OK, but if you think that their problems excuse the US failure to provide health care to all its citizens, well, that's just foolish...
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McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 10:25 am
D'artagnan wrote:
I realize that knocking Canada's health-care system is great sport for conservatives in this country.

That's OK, but if you think that their problems excuse the US failure to provide health care to all its citizens, well, that's just foolish...


How did you come up with this? I read Scrat's post and thought it interesting that Canada bans private health insurance. Is your hatred of the US so great that you immediately thought that this was some attempt to scourge Canada? WTF?
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Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 10:31 am
McGentrix wrote:
D'artagnan wrote:
I realize that knocking Canada's health-care system is great sport for conservatives in this country.

That's OK, but if you think that their problems excuse the US failure to provide health care to all its citizens, well, that's just foolish...


How did you come up with this? I read Scrat's post and thought it interesting that Canada bans private health insurance. Is your hatred of the US so great that you immediately thought that this was some attempt to scourge Canada? WTF?


Not sure how my post reveals my "hatred for the US," unless saying that we can do a better job of taking care of our citizens is unpatriotic.

Did you actually read what I wrote before you wrote that reply?
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McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 10:37 am
Once again, Scrat started this thread to discuss a situation in Canada and a "patriotic" American has stepped in to show that the US is somehow worse. Wouldn't it be nice if we could have a discussion about a thread topic without the evils of the oppressive Bush regime or how much worse the US than any other country being brought up?
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Scrat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 10:40 am
Here's a source:

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/world/canada/11853779.htm
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McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 10:45 am
I was reading here.

I didn't realize that this issue was about a ban on private insurance...
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au1929
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 10:48 am
McGentrix
Pretty sensitive are we not? Is it because you realize that is an area where the US is deficient that you leap to defend it?
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 10:51 am
If you don't agree with McG, you obviously hate the United States, Au . . . sheesh, can't you see that ? ! ? ! ?
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Scrat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 11:03 am
Seems to me that by one or more measures both the US and Canadian systems qualify to be labeled "deficient".

If you think universal access to health care is the only important measure, then the US would certainly appear "deficient". If you think providing patients with timely treatment is important, Canada's system looks "deficient".

Clearly, some people would like to turn this discussion into a pissing match about which is better. Perhaps it would be more useful to simply try to discuss what appears to work and what appears not to work and consider what might be an ideal solution regardless of which side of the border we applied it.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 11:07 am
Really interesting topic, Scrat.

Quote:
Whatever positive aspects their may be to Canada's vaunted universal health care system, what justification can there be for forbidding citizens from going outside the system and purchasing the care they need on the private market if they so choose? (At least and at last, it appears that the SCoC sees no justification for same.)


I don't know much about the Canadian system, and on the surface it seems like there is no reason not to allow someone to go outside the system.

I could foresee, though, an objection to introducing the profit motive into universal healthcare if there were rationing of services. We've talked a bit about this in other threads and I don't pretend to know what the best system is. But if a system is built on the idea that all deserve equal healthcare, then allowing those with means to obtain superior healthcare kind of tosses that idea out altogether. However, maybe it's not a reasonable idea. Maybe a better idea is that all human beings are entitled to the same "minimum" subset of care and to allow those who can to obtain care over and above that minimum.
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Scrat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 11:09 am
FreeDuck wrote:
I could foresee, though, an objection to introducing the profit motive into universal healthcare if there were rationing of services.

Sure, but what is endangered by same is not the quality of care but the existing system. Should we protect the system at the cost of lives and quality of life?
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 11:13 am
Scrat wrote:
FreeDuck wrote:
I could foresee, though, an objection to introducing the profit motive into universal healthcare if there were rationing of services.

Sure, but what is endangered by same is not the quality of care but the existing system. Should we protect the system at the cost of lives and quality of life?


My answer? No, not if we have a better idea. I wouldn't favor scrapping an existing flawed system for no system at all, though.

It could be that somebody thinks they have a better idea and that the recent decision is the beginning of change. I'll be watching.

A side note, I don't think anybody has gotten the healthcare thing right yet. But I do think that somebody will find the right balance, and if it's not us, then we ought to copy them, whoever them is.
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Scrat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 11:49 am
FreeDuck - Good, reasonable comments. (You sure you've got the right forum?) ;-)
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 12:01 pm
Re: The Little Health Care System That Couldn't
Scrat wrote:
Whatever positive aspects their may be to Canada's vaunted universal health care system, what justification can there be for forbidding citizens from going outside the system and purchasing the care they need on the private market if they so choose? (At least and at last, it appears that the SCoC sees no justification for same.)

I don't know much about the Canadian system, but two thoughts come to mind:

1. Perhaps Canada didn't want to give people the option to purchase private health insurance because it might have led to people opting out of the national health insurance plan. Nationalized health insurance can't work if it allows people to opt out, since any kind of plan like that would end up insuring only those people who can't get or afford private insurance. Health insurance only works if the pool of insureds includes a good number of healthy people who don't make claims: that's how private health insurance works. Any plan that included only the sick and the poor could not maintain financial solvency.

2. Canada may have felt that the social costs of having, in effect, a two-tier system of health insurance (rich people with national health insurance plus private insurance, everyone else with just the national health plan) were too high. There's a lot to be said about democratic societies adopting programs that are democratic in nature and appearance. If everyone thinks that everyone else is "in the same boat," then they may be more willing to accept and support the program.
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McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 12:16 pm
That's about what I was thinking as well Joe.

It doesn't say much about a few things in Canada though.

1. The national healthcare system is obviously not meeting eveyone's demands for quality, timely healthcare.

2. The freedom to choose ones level of healthcare. In a free country, people should be allowed to make their own choices in life, healthcare should be one of those choices.
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JustWonders
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 12:18 pm
Another thread on this same subject:

http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=1391379#1391379

Canada appears to be the only industrialized country that bans private health care.

What I don't understand, if the health care is underwritten through high taxes, how is it considered 'free'?

It's not uncommon for Canadian patients to seek health care in the United States, especially when put on a long waiting list for such routine procedures such as hip replacements. The problem is, if the condition goes untreated, it only gets worse.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 12:19 pm
That's about as succinct a summary of exactly what the principles were when nationalized health was adopted in Canada as i've ever seen, Joe. The CCF and Social Credit had varying rates of electoral success--the CCF doing best in the prairies and Social Credit stumbling along, dying on the vine, and eventually surviving as a viable party only in Qu├ębec. The Tories eventually killed CCF by constantly and wrongly portraying them as Communists--but in their death they were reborn as the NDP--although NDP hasn't had all that great a record at the national level.

The Canadian Liberal Party, which is about as liberal as a Texas Democrat, was obliged to co-opt the appeal of CCF and Social Credit with the Canadian Family Plan, the first "welfare" system in North America. But it didn't go far enough, and eventually the Liberals introduced the health plan. It was modeled on the CCF agenda, because the Liberals otherwise didn't have a clue how to make it work. The CCF model followed exactly the line of reasoning you make here.

The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation held a convention at Regina in July, 1933, and issued the Regina Manifesto, with Section Eight concerning medical insurance:

The CCF wrote:
With the advance of medical science the maintenance of a healthy population has become a function for which every civilized community should undertake responsibility. Health services should be made at least as freely available as are educational services today. But under a system which is still mainly one of private enterprise the costs of proper medical care, such as the wealthier members of society can easily afford, are at present prohibitive for great masses of the people. A properly organized system of public health services including medical and dental care, which would stress the prevention rather than the cure of illness should be extended to all our people in both rural and urban areas. This is an enterprise in which Dominion, Provincial and Municipal authorities, as well as the medical and dental professions can cooperate.


The CCF won crucial seats across Canada in its brief history (before the Tories smeared them out of national existence and the NDP was born from the wreckage), and Tommy Douglas and the CCF formed the provincial government of Saskatchewan in 1944. His provincial health care plan became a model for other provinces, and was the basis for the national plan implemented by the Liberals under Lester Pearson.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jun, 2005 12:29 pm
I am having trouble finding a statement of Douglas' principles in establishing Medicare in Saskatchewan--in the interim, this Wikipedia article on the Canadian Medicare system is very informative.
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