Failure in Canada’s medical system

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 49 , No. 6 , July August 2007 , Pages 297 Letters

I am writing regarding the editorial “Divided we stand, divided we fall,” (BCMJ 2007;49[3]:105). With the introduction of universal medical care Tommy Douglas never suggested the government should have a monopoly and be the only medical care provider. The Canada Health Act, introduced by the then–Health Minister Monique Begin, as her departing shot, has been a disaster for Canada’s medical health system. The Liberals at the time had guarantees from both opposition parties, the Conservatives and the New Democrats, that they would not embarrass the government if they let the Canada Health Act die on the floor. Unfortunately Monique Begin’s enthusiasm won the day, making private insurance for medical and hospital care illegal across the country. The elimination of the three words is crucial—effective, efficient, and responsible. 

Most large companies provide medical/dental insurance for their employees. If allowed, they would provide physician and hospital care at a reasonable premium, yet it is illegal. If individuals with private insurance were allowed to pay for their own care and leave the government to provide medical care for those without such coverage or those unable to pay, as they do with social services, adequate funding of the medical care system would be a non-issue. 

For those services in which the government has a monopoly, the record is dismal. When will Canadians force the politicians to back away from their medical care monopoly and put their efforts and focus where it belongs? Let Canada go back to having one of the better medical health care systems in the world as was true some 20 or 30 years ago. It certainly isn’t today as pointed out in BD’s editorial. 

—William W. Arkinstall, MD
Kelowna

William W. Arkinstall, MD. Failure in Canada’s medical system. BCMJ, Vol. 49, No. 6, July, August, 2007, Page(s) 297 - Letters.



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