Cornwall ON – Healthcare, Healthcare, Healthcare. There is no issue as important in Canada right now. It’s about our identity; our sovereignty, and frankly it’s about who we are and how we treat each other.
It’s also about money and power and when those two get together it can be a very bumpy ride. The province of Ontario yesterday issued an edict suggesting that they will be targeting private billing for services in Canada’s largest province.
That’s a good thing. Privatization is creeping from the shadows (and in many cases in the light of day) into our daily lives. It’s artificial. Create the circumstances where people demand it and it happens. Ontario saved an awful lot of money for example by doing away with kick backs to pharmacists and over charging of generic drugs.
While making amazing sense and saving the taxpayer and the system billions drug companies reacted by not producing some very important drugs and creating artificial shortages.
To give some of you a hint of what happens when medical care is privatized I’ll share the story of James Verone of North Carolina. James worked for a major company for nearly 20 years before losing his job, and of course, his health benefits.
James walked into a bank with a hold up note. He asked for $1 and then went and sat down patiently waiting for police to come and arrest him so that he could be treated for his various ailments. You see prisoners in the US get better healthcare than the uninsured.
That my fellow Canadians is called desperation. Fear; cold fear; the kind that a person feels when they know they’re not well and have no place to go for help. The kind a child feels when they’re hurt and want to find their mommy or daddy.
There’s a saying that a society can be viewed by how it takes care of it’s weakest links. We in Ontario and Canada are not the only country struggling with the burden of the Boomer generation and rising health care costs; but we do have choices which we have to start using.
We have to start to demand our politicians tackle the health care system and make it accountable and sustainable. We need to demand cost sense whether it be what we pay for services; how things are accounted for, and even yes, how much we pay our medical staff if necessary. We need to listen to patients. We need to listen to voters, and we really need to listen to those that work in the front lines delivering those services.
We need to reform healthcare before we become James Verone.
We need dignified home care instead of sitting in hallways with our hind ends sticking out of dressing gowns. We need family doctors. We need prevention instead of acute care for ills that should never have become acute.
We need a National program to initiate true savings. We need our governments to stand up to big drug companies and big insurance companies. We need to make sure orphan drugs are not….orphaned.
We need to stand up for ourselves; our families, our friends, and for each other.