Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Patron Saint of Socialized Medicine.

                Tommy Douglas is the patron saint of socialized medicine in Canada, maybe even in North America.
               Saskatchewan was the Province that gave birth to what in  Canada we call Medicare. (Quite different to the way the Americans use the word.)   Tommy was a Scottish-born Canadian social democratic politician and Baptist minister. He was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1935 ( the year I was born, incidentally).  In the years of the great depression in one of the poorest provinces in Canada he envisioned and then created a provincial health care service that ushered in the first comprehensive health care system in 1960  that was available to anyone in the province of Saskatchewan.  It is the model that gave birth to  the Canada Health Act.
               Saskatchewan is now far from being a have-not province.  It's Heath Minister is reviewing proposed legislation that would allow patients to pay out-of -pocket for MRI scans.  This is aimed at reducing wait times and may result in making MRI scans available at private clinics as soon  as the spring.  For every scan paid for privately , the private clinics would be required to provide a scan at no charge to a patient on the public waiting list.   There is already precedent for this sort of model.  The Workers’ Compensation Board and the CFL Saskatchewan Roughriders currently pay for MRI scans privately and work under the “two-for-one” model.
                Between 4,000 and 5,000 people are waiting for MRIs in Saskatchewan.
“Our wait times still are longer than our recommended waits.” said the Minister. "The number of patients needing scans has grown to 33,000 a year from about 16,000,"he added.
                In Regina, the wait for an urgent MRI scan averages 24 days. A non-urgent scan can take more than seven months. Saskatoon’s wait times are longer.  The recommended wait time for an urgent case is up to a week compared to three months for a non-urgent scan.  Emergency MRIs happen immediately across the province.
               The socialist opposition thinks the proposed legislation is problematic because it could result in delayed treatment for those on the public wait list.  They claim there are people who can't afford a private MRI, and that is correct.  But does their political correctness prevent them from the commonsense realization that the extra funding put into the system by those who can afford it, will reduce the waiting  list by taking the payer off the list and also by virtue of the arrangement for a 'free' public MRI for each private one.  There is no doubt that the arrangement will attract more radiologists and more private clinics, paid for by the voluntary self tax the private purchasers are adding to  the system.
                It is sad that these administridiot ideologues really don't care about the public if their welfare conflicts with their own  irrational concepts.  Health care costs are going to escalate dramatically in the future.  We better start thinking outside of the narrow boundaries that we have imposed on ourselves before our health care system deteriorates any further.
If you have any views feel free to comment.

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