Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Great Canadian Health Care Debate

Ah, a fine Canadian tradition.

As someone with some experience in the health care field, I think my opinion is worth at least 3 to 5 cents, rather than the usual 2. Talking from personal knowledge, I can safely say that there is already a thriving private health care system, particularly in the realm of physical medicine (Rehab, physiotherapy, quackopractor..............sorry I mean chiropractic, et al.)

Canadians are fooling themselves if they think that a privatized system is going to be a panacea for what ails the current system. Only a small percentage of the population will be in a position to pay for major surgery out of their own pocket, the rest will depend on private health care insurance. Having significant experience with third party payers, I can safely say that what Canadians will see is rather than prolonged waiting periods they will just get denials of treatment. The exception to this being those individuals who can cut their own cheques to cover the cost of their treatment.

In the event that private health care is allowed in Canada, many of these costs will be passed on to corporations in the form of higher health benefit and insurance costs. The companies will then use a variety of strategies to attempt to control these costs. One only needs to look at some of the huge health care costs facing large US companies to see the future.

This is not just a money problem (i.e. putting more money in the system), it is a societal problem. We have to eat healthier and exercise on a regular basis, and for GOD sakes, stop smoking. I'm going to take a RADICAL bend here and suggest that if one wants to engage in behaviors and lifestyles that are known to ill contribute to one's health, should they not bear the burden of their decisions, through either a HIGHER TAX (Josh, you socialist bastard!) on food that is known to be "less than healthy" or a health care levy on people, much the way insurance companies assess premiums based on health care.

You may say, Josh you are a hypocrite, you say it isn't a money problem but then talk about taxing people to raise money. The point here isn't to generate revenue, but to use the higher costs as a deterrent to limit certain behaviors.

Opponents of this idea will say that the economic costs of these initiatives will destroy the fast food industry. To them I say, Fooey on you!, People still drink and smoke, despite the sin taxes. People just have to take responsibility for their actions, and in a socialized medical environment, I don't think that I should have to pay the tab for the 400lbs guy who eat fast food all week, hacks a few butts here and there, and winds up ill by 40.

Or the other alternative, a libertarian approach if you will, is to remove all tax revenue from the health care system, reduce personal and corporate income tax by the same amount and see how the health care system works out with out any intervention at all. Now that should be equally cute!

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