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Dr. Day makes good case on healthcare

September 12, 2016 4:46 A.M.
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A NewsKamloops editorial by Claude Richmond.

HERE WE ARE once again at the old private vs public health care argument, with the same tired responses.  Dr. Brian Day makes the cogent argument that if people cannot get timely health care from the public system, they should be able to buy it from the private sector.  Of course that is possible now, but you have to go outside of our country to do so.

Then, just as predictably, we hear the argument from the other side that if you allow private health care it will take valuable resources from the public system, thereby increasing the wait times.  And the other tired argument that we will be just like the Americans. 

What nonsense.  If you were going to emulate any system why would you choose the American one; it's one of the worst in the world — the 37th worst to be exact.  (To be entirely fair, the Americans have superb health care, just a really a lousy delivery system.)

Why would you not look to a system that is considered one of the best, if not the best in the world?  There are several public/private systems in Europe that work very well, the French probably the best.

Case in point: the wife of a friend of mine was taken seriously ill while in Paris.  Her husband called the hotel desk and within 15 minutes a doctor was in her room.  Can you imagine that ever happening in Canada or the U.S.A.?  Another case; a man in Kamloops required a hip replacement, he was in constant pain.  He was told it would be at least a year before he could have the surgery.  He went to Europe and had his hip replaced in two weeks.

Too those who think we have a fair one-tier system here in Canada, think again.  There are several examples of those who go to the front of the cue all the time —  police, fire, prisoners, professional athletes, doctors, etc.  As well, our health ministry contracts with the private sector all the time for surgeries like hip and knee replacements, cataracts, etc.

When we have to wait 10 months to see a specialist, then wait another year to actually receive the procedure, our system is broken.  It is time that we looked to improving it, so why not look in places where the public/private system is working? 

If our health care system is not providing the necessary care to Canadians in a timely manner, as it should, then I agree with Dr. Day.  We should be able to go to the private sector.  If we can spend our money outside of our country, why can't we spend it here?

Got an opinion? Leave a comment here or write to letters@newskamloops.com. 

Allan Dubbs says:
September 14, 2016 01:11pm

This whole health care issue is a slippery slope, once the snowball gains momentum where does it stop? We had many, many Canadians sacrifice their lives so we could enjoy certain things like health care, these are "rights"! People with the funds can easily scoot to the U.S., Mexico, etc. The problem is not the money in our system, I believe it is the system that is spending the money that needs fixing, there are too many departments spending dollars that could be better used. It is correct that we are an aging population, what everyone fails to mention is that we look after ourselves better than we ever did! We eat healthy, exercise, etc. Put all that cash cow lottery money where it should be as well!

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c.richmond says:
September 13, 2016 01:57pm

It has nothing to do with wealth and everything to do with the right to timely health care. Many people who could not wait for our public system have had to borrow the money to go outside the country. Then they have the added expense of travel and accommodation. Why should that money not stay in BC?

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jj says:
September 14, 2016 07:40pm

If "it has nothing to do with wealth," then look at the root of the problem and stop the corporate welfare and corruption that is contributing to the erosion of the social fabric of this country.
Get the corporations, money launderers, tax evaders, and banksters to start paying their fair share of taxes and fines into the Canadian society they are exploiting, polluting, and corrupting; and put that money into the public health care system.
Yes, we have a right to timely care, which the corporate controlled provincial and federal governments are denying Canadian citizens through their failures to responsibly govern and enforce the laws. Canadians want a fair system. The governments' neglect of the health care system is designed to enable the likes of Dr. Day to appeal to an increasingly frustrated population.
If you're so keen on keeping the health dollars in BC, why don't you work at telling the government to also keep a greater share of BC resource wealth and BC jobs in BC, instead of selling out the province to questionable foreign interests, corporations and their temporary foreign workforces? The problem within the healthcare system is a symptom of right wing neoliberal policy, which is clearly failing Canadians. They're turning us into refugees in our own country, where we now have to flee the cities of our province to find affordable housing as well as timely health care. It's absurd to suggest to Canadians that another privatization "solution" will remedy Canada's healthcare system.

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Grouchy 1 says:
September 14, 2016 08:37am

You're wrong Mr. Richmond, because only the well off will be able to afford to jump the que.

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Violetta says:
September 13, 2016 01:23pm

Our healthcare system does not work!
I know people who had their close family members and friends die because they could not see specialists in time.
It is so sad to see how things work and how people suffer.
It is not about the rich getting better care! we never should look at that as the outcome.
I am originally from Europe, emigrated 25 years ago and I go back sometimes. Germany has one of the best systems in my opinion; there are no wait times, you don't pay more then maybe 5% for cost share and you have a choice which specialist you want to see. Hospitals are clean and modern, stuff very nice and emergency takes a minute or two; how it should as this is the EMERGENCY
Poland where I am from went through many changes a very different country when I was leaving in 1987
I went back with my husband a year ago for a visit; he had a knee issue here in Canada for over 6 months or so. He did see a few doctors who told him to go to physiotherapy, to stretch and excersize and that should help. He insisted to at least go for ultrasound or X-ray but was refused.
While in Poland his knee gave up; we rushed to the emergency where it took 20 or maybe 30 minutes to see the doctor and do couple of tests and the outcome was surgery as the meniscus was damaged .
The surgery was performed within 10 days (and it took that long only because we wanted to research the specialists that would perform the surgery and choosing the best one). He ended up needing some part transplanted as well as the injury got worse since it was not dealt with right away. The cost for all that and the surgery was about $2,500
Average people in Poland are not rich people and healthcare covers it all for everybody as well but there is that option to choose an excellent doctor with great experience and a doctor you can trust. Those visits are very inexpensive and if you would only go to get a second opinion that is an option that I would like to have. Going to a couple of specialists in Canada myself I was very disappointed that it took only 2-3 minutes and the doctor was done with me, no special tests or follow ups just charging the healthcare for as many patients they possibly can handle each day.
I came to Canada 25 years ago to live in a free country but this is no freedom if you are not allowed to have choices that ultimately are the most important choices in your life; choice of an excellent doctor, choice to do it right away and choice of healthy life because at the end what counts if you don't have your health!?
It is about time to change this horrible system that does not work and it is only getting worse in my opinion. Be optimistic! Embrace the idea of growing and evolving:)

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jj says:
September 12, 2016 09:45pm

Every other public private partnership in this province is a major rip off for taxpayers. For example, BC Hydro is being bled by sweetheart run-of-river private power contracts for BC Lieberal Party buddies. The Lieberal party deregulated real estate buddies are cashing in while pricing British Columbians out of the rental and housing market as offshore millions scoop up BC's real estate. Public school students in Nelson have to complain to the media to get a space in their own high school, which seems more focused on selling desk space to high paying foreign students. Health care is seen as just another public good that can be raided by greedy private interests. It's all part of the Neoliberal agenda. It's not about working together; it's about a few barging to the front of the line.

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Grouchy 1 says:
September 13, 2016 10:06pm

Spot on. Good comment.

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James Graff says:
September 12, 2016 09:17am

-It has been said (and I think correctly) that BC alone pays close to 50% of a every dollar towards the assistance of a medical service plan, et al. That is, in the BC provision of providing basic coverage towards BC citizens we have high costs.

Secondly, as the population will continue to age into the late years of the elderly the only (new) common resource for this medical dilemma of rising costs will be: the use of assisting death in chronic conditions to offset longer term costs in bed keep, etc.

Hence, we have gone completely from a compassionate society -because too many people abuse the medical system driving up costs- to a totally rational system, allaying health care to a middle-class whom support the economic capitalization of the economy, per se.

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cwowo says:
September 12, 2016 09:14am

You do realize there is only two countries in the world with the so called single tier public health care plan. WE are one and the other is NORTH KOREA. Now that is quite the comparison for us right Mr. Lake!

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Grouchy 1 says:
September 12, 2016 08:55am

Wow ! A wealthy man telling us peasants why he should have better access to health care than we do. This article is a load of bunk.

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Sean McGuinness says:
September 12, 2016 07:38am

Rubbish. Mr. Richmond seems to be recommending that we open up the alternative of private medicine to solve the problems with an overburdened health system. Thus well-healed people in our community will have the luxury of skipping out on the lines at our walk-in clinics.
How many people can afford to pay for hip replacement out of their own pocket? In the U.S., the average cost of a hip replacement is about $30,000 (according to Blue Cross Blue Shield). If some European countries have better healthcare which Mr. Richmond states without proof, then it is because they are more committed to universal health.

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