Monday, October 24, 2005

The hospitals will be painted red and orange

As you'll likely be heading out of town for that MRI or treatment anyway, if you can afford it, you should keep right on going until you cross the border.

The provincial Liberals latest attempt to deceive the people into believing the health care crisis in Canada can be fixed by more bureaucrats and propaganda campaigns involves the creation of a website where patients and doctors can view wait times for various needed procedures. Of course, this mad bureaucratic 'solution' will fix nothing, but will only make more work for already overburdened doctors and create additional stress for patients. For many patients, the travel and accomodation expenses, including those incurred by family and friends who want to be near the patient, make this solution far from pleasing. I also imagine we'll see patients coming from Toronto for treatment in London, while a patient from London makes the trip to Toronto for the very same procedure concurrently.

Premier Dalton McGuinty described the website as a tool for patients and doctors to decide whether someone should leave their own community in order to have their cancer treatment or MRI scan done more quickly in another town or city.

The province, however, won't cover any additional travel expenses, he warned.

"It may be that the inconvenience associated with getting the procedure at the other hospital is greater than the inconvenience of just waiting," McGuinty said.

"That's something for the patient and their physician to consider."

The site, launched Monday, tracks wait times for five key medical procedures: cancer surgery, cardiac procedures, hip and knee replacements and MRI and CT scans. Waits are categorized by procedure, hospital and local health network.

McGuinty has repeatedly said Ontario voters will judge his government against the results they see in health care and education; the wait times website is seen as a key tool in providing voters with proof of what the Liberals hope will be measurable success.

"No government has ever been willing to be that transparent with respect to how we manage this particular issue," McGuinty said. "We've turned things around. We're making progress. Now's the time to accelerate that progress."

[..] "The public will now be able to compare one hospital with another hospital, and beyond that, we will be able to make an assessment where we should be deploying resources," he said. "Inevitably, there'll be pressure to perform, and to get your wait times down."
Is McGuimpy so transparently stupid that he doesn't realize hosptials will rush people in and out even faster then they do now to make room for the next victim, resulting in errors, poor care, sickness and death? Reduced wait times do not necessarily result in better care, especially when any apparent benefits are heavily outweighed by the costs.

Politicians don't care about you or I as individual people. We are merely to follow the pellets to the appropriate voting booth. The obvious solutions are ignored and indeed scorned, while public awareness campaigns and five - ten year plans are adopted for their power to confuse and employ government friendly companies. Rather than allow private clinics to open up so that those that wanted to pay could leave the line, statists like Happy Jack Layton want to tighten the government's monopolistic grip on the health care system:
Prime Minister Paul Martin has to crack down on the number of private health-care clinics opening up for business or he will forfeit the NDP's support that's been propping up Martin's minority government, warns New Democrat Leader Jack Layton.

Layton is expected to have a meeting with Martin this week on the controversial issue of health-care clinics, which are popping up across the country and he's looking for a guarantee that there will be enforceable rules in place to prevent further expansion of private health-care services.

The Canada Health Act does empower the government to block private health services, but little has been done to pursue penalties and where action has been taken, there's been little success.

"I'm concerned that the prime minister is fundamentally weakening Canada and we can look at that on a number of fronts. It's a classic Martin strategy -- large statements about goals and nothing to follow up," Layton said yesterday on CTV's Question Period.

"The health-care accord of a year ago with the $41 billion is essentially turning out to be a fraud. . . . Privatization is taking place right across this country and there's absolutely nothing to stop it. So I'm going to be asking the prime minister to take immediate, concrete steps to stop the further privatization of health."

[..] Layton admits there's no way to shut down the private clinics and hospitals that currently exist.

"You don't roll clocks back. There's too much already in place, but it's the growth that has got to stop," Layton said.

[..] "All we get is talk from Mr. Martin, the waving of the arms and $41 billion dollars --as though throwing a big cheque at the problem is going to solve it. It's not."
More laws will fix the trouble, and it helps if you delay the election call too.

The current system is unsustainable. Not only does the aging population mean an increase in demand for health services, but in addition, the inclusion of expensive and rare treatments currently not covered is being considered. When health care has become "a right", when the right to life now means the right to whatever will sustain that life, no matter what the costs imposed by force onto others, on what basis do we refuse 'free' treatment to anyone who asks for it?


Mitch said...

I am wondering when the state will as the ultimate conclusion of rationing - determine which lives are worthy of treatment and which are not? Will they calculate the person's net present value in terms of a net payer to government or net user from government? Calculated as: NPV taxes paid - NPV of services used. If NPV>0 then treat, if NPV<0 don't...

Pietr said...

Already happening here-except they don't let politicians 'decide'.They let judges 'interpret'.