You know, truth has been in short supply in the American “debate” over health care reform. Today now everyone is quoting the outgoing and incoming presidents of the Canadian Medical Association using the word “implode” to describe our system.
So here is my last input to the American debate, as if facts and truth matter. Read the speeches of the CMA Presidents. It is true that they are shilling for more private care, to make more money, have more opportunity and maybe some of them even believe that patients will be better served by choice.
But nowhere do they say anything about abandoning universal care. In her inaugural address this week, the new president, Dr. Annie Doig, said this:
Canada’s physicians have always stood four-square behind the principle that no Canadian should do without needed medical care because of an inability to pay. That is an irrefutable fact. Canada’s physicians also stand four-square behind the principle that all Canadians must have appropriate access to the care they need. That, too, is an irrefutable fact.
Even the outgoing president who took a pretty hardline in favour of more private care said this:
Start by building a patient-centred culture that ensures that the patient has unfettered access, with no financial barrier, to continuity of care dispensed at the right time. In concrete terms, this means that when the patient arrives at the hospital, doctor’s office or other facility, he or she is seen quickly. And it means that when a patient requires surgery, he or she receives it within an acceptable timeframe.
In the United States right now people are actually debating this point. We might have differing opinions on this, and radically different ways of getting the job done, but no serious leader in Canada would question equal and fair access of all patients to the care they need, regardless of their ability to pay. That is universal health care. It means that people get cared for, and not that 10s of millions of people don’t ever get care because they are afraid that they can’t afford it.
So, understand this. In Canada the debate is about coping with rising costs, making services more efficient and ensuring that everyone gets the care tey need. It is not about fundamental access. It is a debate that is alive in every country in the world. But it is not the same debate as the one going on in the States right now. And using single words like “implode” from a rhetorical speech that actually supports improving universal health care to oppose Obama’s plan is like quoting Einstein in a divorce settlement: sure you’re both talking about “relativity” but the similarity ends there.
Good luck my American friends. I hope the level of discourse returns from its dive into the ridculous soon. And I hope no one gets hurt before it does.