Americanization of heath care undesirable

We commonly hear claims that Canadian healthcare is not sustainable. Most of these statements originate with corporate PR institutes whose objective is to create business opportunities for private clients. The aim is not to preserve, protect and improve Canada’s medical system; the aim is to privatize. In effect, to Americanize.

Economist Dean Baker believes we would be mistaken to follow the health care system of his nation:

“…the U.S. health care system is broken. We already pay more than twice as much per person for our health care as people in other wealthy countries. This gap is projected to increase in the decades ahead. If we had the same per person health care costs as any other wealthy country we would be looking at huge budget surpluses, not deficits.”

Despite its high per person medical cost structure, the USA ranks at the bottom of this life expectancy list, 32nd of 32 nations:

Categories: Health

3 replies »

  1. The basic argument is single-payer, government-administered versus free market enterprise. If both systems were run equally in terms of standards and ethics, then the single-payer, government-run system would be less costly.

    It stretches credulity to hear people argue that a for-profit, industry-managed health care system is inherently more efficient, less costly. Corporations' primary duty is to maximize profits — that's the law.

    And if you think that the private sector is inherently more ethical and effective than the public sector, well, just cast your mind back over the myriad scandals that have rocked our economic well-being over the last couple decades (Enron/Arthur Anderson, the laughingly-titled “subprime” mortgage meltdown brought to us by Goldman Sachs, to name a couple).

    However, health care is not just about how much we pay. It's how well it's being administered. In Canada, BC in particular, we have an increasingly corrupt administration of health care.

    Think not? Just try to raise a concern about questionable, dangerous practices or even abuse by doctors, nurses, staff. They will either try to deflect your concerns or bully you or attack you. They close ranks, and not just the institutions themselves, but the so-called watchdogs too.

    This is not too surprising when you consider the BC Liberals put the pharmaceutical companies in charge of the provincial government's drug policy. The same degree of confidence exists with respect to the Liberal government appointees sitting on “patient safety” committees.

    If you think this is an extreme view, listen to CBC Radio's White Coat, Black Art, all about abuse by nurses…. of their colleagues, including violent physical attacks.

    Note of caution: White Coat Black Art (WCBA) is a PR show designed to polish the declining image of doctors – now often viewed as autocratic bullies whose callous, indifferent and greedy behaviour leads to harm of the patient. WCBA poses as an investigative show, a standard PR ploy where you take an “issue” and then “reveal” a minor element or minimize the actual stats. The aim is to control doctors’ image in the public.

    If you think abusive nurses curb their violent tendencies when it comes to patients, think again. The federal government released a major public poll a couple months ago showing 48% of the public said they believe that institutional staff are responsible for abuse of elderly patients.

    White Coat Black Art somehow missed that issue, or more likely, they know about it, and chose to soft-pedal the issue by focusing on abuse of nurses (not patients) and by down-playing the seriousness and growing pervasiveness of violence in health care settings.

    The most telling thing is that there is virtually no mention of patients being in harm’s way of these bullies, either in the story itself or the comments from readers (mostly nurses).

    Disclaimer: I know and have worked with a number of outstanding nurses and doctors, and most of them are very concerned about pervasive peer pressure not to rock the boat, and by professional associations that reinforce the bullying and abusive culture. Sadly, for now anyway, they are the silent minority.


  2. There's nothing to stop Americanization of health care in Canada. But Harper promised not to in the election debate, you say? We know from Income Trusts, greenhouse gas emissions, transparency, Wheat Board 2011 vs 2009, etc, just how much a Conservative promise is worth.

    More importantly, Harper only promised not to reduce federal spending on healthcare. He said nothing about the form healthcare will take. If a province lets Mexican and American style health providers set up shop, Harper won't defend the Health Act, and after costs skyrocket, NAFTA will prevent us from getting rid of them.


  3. I read Harper's speech in new York. He was attending, the Council of Foreign Relations. This was on Sept. 25/2007. Harper fully endorsed the N.A.U.

    Canada adopting the health care systems of the U.S. is very possible. Canada will be the largest state in the U.S. The chatter about the U.S. and Canadian borders, is all a part of the N.A.U. Mexico is supposed to be in with the N.A.U. But, the violence of the drug wars and other crimes, have to be cleaned up first.

    Don't forget, we were warned about what would happen to Canada, if Harper won his majority. We were told we could kiss Canada good-bye. Connect the dots, and follow the money, always good rules.


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