South Dundas - March 18, 2015 - Our health care system, as started in the 1960’s under
initiatives between the provinces and the federal government under
Lester B. Pearson, has never been finished. After the initial creation
of the system, it has been left to meander along with no clear
direction, and as such has deviated from the ideals it was founded on.
Now our health care system has become the mechanic’s jalopy, something
to be tinkered with, but only if it doesn’t cost more money. If
something needs money or attention in the system, we rob Peter to pay
Paul to do it. That is not what the goal of our modern system of
health care was to be.
When the provincial leaders and the federal government got together
and hammered out the details of this system, what was created was only
to be the first-part of a broad system of health benefits. Planned
initiatives was to include pharmaceutical coverage, and even some form
of dental coverage.
Flash forward 50 years to the present, and we have a system that is
degrading. Administration costs and bureaucracy are through the roof,
taking money from front-line care. Provincial governments are using
doctors as straw-men (and women) to promise “fiscal restraint”. A
person can go years without finding a family doctor, and the system to
get a doctor is so convoluted that it’s easy to see why some get
discouraged and quit looking. Every year, provinces de-list certain
services covered to make the budgets balance. Yes some provinces are
in better shape than others, but overall the health care system is on
Many argue that we should go the route of the United States and allow
user-pay. This writer has thought that too. But what if we did it the
other way around, and double-down, go all-in?
A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal stated
that the costs of implementing a Universal Drug Plan are under one
billion dollars per year. The effect it would have on drug costs in
this country, would be to cut prices up to 1/5th of what is paid now
for many medications. But the real benefit, is that those who
financially stretch themselves to pay for medications needed, would
have some breathing room in their budget.
Should we also go one step further and have a Universal Dental Plan?
Just as medication costs would go down due to a Universal Drug Plan,
it stands to reason that dental care would too. It is scientifically
proven that poor dental health leads to a host of health issues. Once
an issue has reached the point where it is covered by the health care
system, it is a far more serious and far more expensive to treat.
According to the Canadian Association of Public Health
Dentistry(CAPHD), 62% of Canadians have private dental insurance,
which sounds great, except that 38% don’t have any coverage. The CAPHD
also states that 53% of people between the ages of 60 and 79 do not
have any coverage, and that 50% of lower income adults do not have
coverage. Dental coverage is expensive, and like many other things
nowadays, tough choices in what family budgets pay for occur.
If we are to continue having a publicly-funded, publicly-run health
care system, should it not include the entire spectrum of health care?
Should our health care system become more inclusive, focusing on
preventative medicine, treating issues before they get bad, and making
sure people do not go into considerable debt to pay for medications?
Regular readers know that this writer leans more to a libertarian,
small-government way of thinking. But if we are going to have a
service that is paid for by the people through taxation, it should be
done right, and be inclusive. If we are paying for a Cadillac system,
we should not be getting a Pinto in return, a system of bare-minimums.