you hear the Physicians call?
Dr. Diane Forbes
this past week in the Journal of the American Medical Association a
group of more that 7000 American Physicians, which included two prior
Surgeon Generals, wrote a contentious article. Their
call was included in a special communication to this prestigious
magazine that helps to set the standards of practice in the United States of America. What they
stated was… that a single payer, national insurance plan was needed to
provide less expensive, fairer and more efficient health care to the
American Population. They are proposing a
US health care reform to create a system similar to those health care
systems provided in Britain, France and here at home in Canada.
Physicians for a National Health Program wrote "In our [US]
market-driven system, insurers and providers compete not so much by
increasing quality or lowering costs, but by avoiding unprofitable
patients and shifting costs back to patients or to other payers…This
creates the paradox of a health care system based on avoiding the sick."
avoid them they do. There are an estimated
41 million American’s who have no health insurance what so ever, more
than the entire population of Canada. And these
citizens are concentrated in the minority groups, the less wealthy and
the elderly. The US market-driven medical system contributes
to a poor showing with regards to infant mortality and life expectancy
because their health care system cannot provide basics such as prenatal
care and immunization to all of its population.
In Canada we should value our publicly funded health
care system, and polls show that we do. The
Canada Health Act ensures that every citizen here has access to basic
and fundamental health care. It may be
true that we have to endure wait times for elective and non emergency
surgery, but I know many persons who when faced with life threatening
illness, be it trauma induced or a sudden diagnosis of cancer have
received immediate care. We provide access
to every member of our society based on need, not on ability to pay. And the care provided is effective.
is true that we could benefit by making some aspects of our systems
more efficient, For example reducing repeat testing by multiple
practitioners. And we should make sure that there is an equivalent
access to care across regions of Canada, either by moving patients or by
providing care in regional settings. There
are other examples to be dredged up, but these shortcomings are
outweighed by providing a broad spectrum of services to our least
that the children of Canada are healthy reduces our health care costs
in the long run because healthy children become more healthy adults
than sick children do. National
immunization strategies protect those persons most likely to die from
communicable diseases, the very young and the very old, and reduces the
spread of these diseases.
I don’t think that we should overlook the benefit to Canadians that is
provided by the understanding that we live in a caring and healthy
community. The positive mental benefits
that I receive from knowing that my fellow citizens will provide for
me, should I ever be in a position that I cannot care for myself, gives
me a sense of peace. This in turn reduces
my stress and again allows me to live as healthy a life as I can.