May 16, 2012, 7:09 AM
Post #1 of 1
Paul Simon famously sang that there are 50 ways to leave your lover. Canada’s single-payer healthcare system must have at least that many ways to ration care in order to preserve the status quo and avoid making drastic changes. It’s all in the name of saving the system, you understand, but in the end the system may be saved, but patients continue to suffer.
It’s like the surgeon walking out of the OR saying that the operation was a complete success, but regretfully, the patient died. The rationing regime has gotten to the point where those in charge of the healthcare system are reporting reduced wait times and better outcomes, even as patients requiring care are either not getting it from their healthcare provider or in so many cases, are going elsewhere.
Some years ago I suddenly lost my hearing. You have no idea how frightening it is to wake up one morning and realize that you’re deaf. I went to see my family doctor who examined me quite thoroughly, yet couldn’t render an opinion. He suggested sending me to an otologist and made the referral. When I got home I asked my wife to contact the specialist to find out when I could see him. She was told that appointments were being booked six months in advance.
As I am in the communications business, I didn’t have the luxury of waiting six months to get a specialist’s appointment, so I did the next best thing. I called an ear nose and throat specialist in Buffalo, NY and got an appointment the very next day. I was referred to an audiologist for a full work-up and even had an MRI done—all on the same day. The following day I had a diagnosis and a plan of care that thankfully enabled me to continue working. Total cost: $2,200 USD and a prescription for hearing aids.
This is the glaring difference between government monopoly single payer healthcare and private healthcare.
I am not at all opposed to government healthcare plans. I am vehemently opposed to single payer government healthcare plans because under this type of system the patient is no longer a customer. The patient is a drain on resources.
We are seeing the adverse effects of the unbending commitment to government monopoly healthcare in Canada, as more and more healthcare services are being squeezed out of the system. And this with no alternative for patients!
Currently the government of Ontario, facing a $15 billion deficit, is arbitrarily reducing fees charged by doctors for a large number of services. These include CT scans, MRIs, EKGs, EEGs and opthalmological procedures. The government’s rationale for these actions is that since there have been improvements in these technologies there should be savings, as less time is required to carry them out. It’s the old “it looks good on paper” scenario, as the bureaucracy doesn’t recognize the fact that doctors have to pay to have these diagnostic tools in their office.
Why would a doctor spend upward of $90,000 or more on a diagnostic tool if he can’t recover the money? What this means is that ultimately more people will suffer and more people will die, as a result of the government’s cavalier healthcare policy.
Currently the Ontario government spends nearly 50% of its entire budget on healthcare, yet quality of service and outcomes are in steady decline. What’s more, with a massive number of baby boomers now reaching their “golden years,” the pressure on the healthcare system is only going to increase and quality will decrease. This is particularly true if the only answer the government bureaucracy can come up with is to reduce payments to doctors. This in itself is a major force in the rationing process now underway. What doctor would want to work longer hours for the same pay?
Many doctors in Ontario have cut back the number of hours they work and are refusing to take on new patients. Some keep their telephones busy, while others have recorded messages that advise patients the only voice mail option is to cancel appointments. No other calls will be returned.
These are all ways in which the government monopoly is rationing healthcare and hoping patients’ anger is directed at doctors, rather than the government, where it rightly should be. What’s needed is some fresh thinking to address this issue, which has been festering for years. The government healthcare monopoly in Canada will certainly collapse of its own ennui, as the only solutions currently being entertained by the bureaucrats is to pump more money into the system.
Americans are now facing the prospect of being subjected to a similar government monopoly healthcare regime. If 33 million people are close to bankrupting the Canadian government healthcare monopoly, just think what 330 million people can do to the American government’s healthcare monopoly. The best thing that could happen to American healthcare is the Supreme Court striking down Obamacare.
Klaus Rohrich is President and Creative Director of Taylor/Rohrich Associates Inc., a marketing and advertising firm that specializes in niche marketing retirement real estate developments