Garth Williams’s letter (Citizen, March 2) was painful to read and I offer my sympathies. It’s a grievous injustice that he would contribute to Medicare his whole life and then be told, “you’re gonna have to wait…have some painkillers.” But I argue that it isn’t the provincial government that’s to blame, it’s the fault of the Canadian people, who refuse to acknowledge the insane inefficiencies in our completely unsustainable and outdated health care system.
The WHO ranks our system 30th in the world. This despite 11.5 per cent of GDP spent on health care, among the highest. Stephane LeVert of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries estimates that in 20 years healthcare expenditures will consume 97 per cent of all available revenues, up from about 45 per cent now. But no one wants to talk about reform because it’s political suicide. Health care unions afraid for their own turf scream “American style health care! American style health care!” and we allow them to bully us into silence. And camp counsellor Trudeau owes his election to Canada hating public unions, so expect nothing from him.
Sooner or later, we either confront this problem, or it will confront us. I invite frontline healthcare workers to write in and describe some of the heartbreaking decisions they are forced to make daily. Likely the system needs to be more proactive than reactive, and we’re going to have to decide for example if we want to support a lifetime of bad decisions and ignoring doctors’ advice. Rationing is coming if we don’t do something, and maybe even if we do.
It’s bleak. Mr. Williams’s best option is probably a gruelling trip to Thailand or India to have the procedure done at his own expense. This is obscene, though if he’d allow us, I’d bet we could raise the money for him.
Are Canadians really compassionate? I’d say yes, but without awareness and action, it doesn’t count for much.