Cornwall ON – I love reading about our Medicare system in Canada from outside sources. It’s interesting to see other perspectives.
Canada, fretting over budget strains, wants to prune its system, while the United States, worrying about an army of uninsured, aims to create a state-backed safety net.
Healthcare in Canada is delivered through a publicly funded system, which covers all “medically necessary” hospital and physician care and curbs the role of private medicine. It ate up about 40 percent of provincial budgets, or some C$183 billion ($174 billion) last year.
Spending has been rising 6 percent a year under a deal that added C$41.3 billion of federal funding over 10 years.
But that deal ends in 2013, and the federal government is unlikely to be as generous in future, especially for one-off projects.
Now that’s a bit of a scary picture.
“Why are we paying more or the same for cataract surgery when it costs substantially less today than it did 10 years ago? There’s going to be a finer look at what we’re paying for and, more importantly, what we’re getting for it,”
And that ladies and gentlemen is the money shot. We need Medicare reform. We don’t need more money pumped into the system. I would suggest we barely get 25 cents on the dollars in services for what we pay.
Why were we paying 50% more than we should for generic drugs? How many other services, products, and fees were we collectively over paying for?
I’ve spoken with a lot of people in the field over the years; the ones that work way too much over time, or have to find creative ways to get work as is the case of many Quebec doctors for example who are limited as to how many hours they can file for while there’s a doctor shortage!
The problem isn’t with our staff. If you cut salaries for example you’d see even more of our rare and valuable doctors, technicians, and nurses heading south or overseas.
The problem starts at the top. It starts with the voter; you and I. It starts with politicians who would rather write cheques than deal with costs; at least until recently.
There’s no need to destroy Medicare as the Drug Industry and big insurance companies in the South would like. There is a huge need to reform the system and realize the discounts that collective purchasing should accrue as was envisioned by the founders of Medicare.
I was listening to AM radio in Montreal yesterday and almost all the commercials I heard were for Private medical services. That’s wrong. It should be illegal in Canada, and it’s undermining a Medicare system that doesn’t seem to care.
We, as the people that pay the bill need to hold our politicians accountable, but we need to be accountable too. IF we want to save Medicare it will be up to voters to make sure that happens.
And time is ticking because after 2013, if a certain Mr. Harper has his way Medicare will become a Provincial issue totally and that will allow NAFTA to put the kill shot into what is truly our National institution and gift to the world. A gift we will have lost forever, and that would be very sad indeed.