Monday, February 20, 2006

Barbarians At Our Gate


We have well and truly put ourselves in the cross-hairs now, because even the NY Times has taken notice of GordCo's code word-laden double-speak on non-private privatized healthcare in last week's throne speech:

Published: February 20, 2006

TORONTO, Feb. 19 — The cracks are still small in Canada's vaunted public health insurance system, but several of its largest provinces are beginning to open the way for private health care eventually to take root around the country.

Last week Quebec proposed to lift a ban on private health insurance for several elective surgical procedures, and announced that it would pay for such surgeries at private clinics when waiting times at public facilities were unreasonable.

The proposal, by Premier Jean Charest, who called for "a new era for health care in Quebec," came in response to a Supreme Court decision last June that struck down a provincial law that banned private medical insurance and ordered the province to initiate a reform program within a year.

The Supreme Court decision ruled that long waits for various medical procedures in the province had violated patients' "life and personal security, inviolability and freedom," and that prohibition of private health insurance was unconstitutional when the public health system did not deliver "reasonable services."

The decision applied directly only to Quebec, but it has generated movement for private clinics and private insurance in several provinces where governments hope to forestall similar court decisions.

Coincidentally, last week Premier Gordon Campbell of British Columbia asked in his Throne speech, the equivalent of a state of the province address, "Does it really matter to patients where or how they obtain their surgical treatment if it is paid for with public funds?"


I think not.

Clearly, we are fast becoming our own worst enemy.


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