Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Private healthcare​? In Canada? When pray tell? Mischa Popoff

I thought we paid politicians to think

Someone, please! Tell Dan Albas what to think.

Westbank First Nations (WFN) plans to open a private hospital, but the rookie MP for the area, Okanagan-Coquihalla, doesn’t know what his opinion should be.

He has no problem throwing public money around. Albas supports upgrading the Merritt Civic Centre with your tax money, and he threw a cool quarter of a million to some local food activists in Grand Forks to set up a mobile abattoir to replace the private one that had operated profitably for decades.

But WFN’s plans don’t require a handout, so Albas is befuddled. And he’s asking constituents what he should think before daring to speak out.

Another private healthcare venture has been providing healthcare to Canadians since 1995, including Workers' Compensation Board clients and a bevy of impatient politicians. I’m referring of course to Dr. Brian Day’s Cambie Surgery Centre in Vancouver.

Day is under constant pressure from the B.C. Medical Services Commission to stop billing his patients. So, upon hearing of Albas’s reluctance to support WFN’s plans, Dr. Day didn’t mince words: he called Albas a coward. “In the old days, politicians led,” Day lamented in our interview, “now they follow.”

Dr. Day launched a challenge in 2009 to wait lists, an expensive and risky legal endeavor which, ironically, will help WFN in its much larger venture. And scant few conservatives or B.C. Liberals will dare utter so much as a word of support.

In stark contrast to Albas, former Conservative MP Keith Martin, a doctor from Vancouver Island, routinely speaks out in support of private healthcare, pointing out it will save a whopping 340,000 lives a year!

Even Cuba offers private healthcare, as does every other nation in the world, except Canada and North Korea.

Switzerland ONLY offers private healthcare. The government covers medical insurance for the poor, and there are no wait times. And so people like Dr. Day, Chief Robert Louie of WFN, and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, are doing everything they can to change Canada’s monopolistic public healthcare system. It’s the only way to help the poor who suffer the worst health outcomes in Canada.

Anyone can pretend to lead after studying poll results. Of course, Albas doesn’t have the money to conduct a real poll, so he’s trying to use the media to sound out public sentiment. And Dr. Day, Chief Louie, and everyone sitting on a wait list, can only wait to see what he decides.

They might end up waiting a long time. Albas, you’ll recall, supported Canada’s Long-Gun Registry, voting to kill it only when instructed to do so by the Prime Minister, but still reserving support for a different type of gun-registration scheme. Combine this with Albas’s support for B.C.’s Carbon Tax and you might think he was an MP from Quebec!

Ironically though, a 2005 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada struck down a Quebec law that banned private insurance. That’s right folks; even Quebec allows clinics like Dr. Day’s to operate, just as Cuba does.

Aren’t conservatives supposed to support the free market and the rights of individuals? Day’s Cambie Surgery Centre and Chief Louie’s proposed hospital will be the two most important things to happen to healthcare in this country, assuming they survive the attacks from healthcare bureaucrats who number one for every 1,400 Canadian citizens compared to just one for every 15,000 citizens in Germany.

An Ipsos Reid Poll conducted this summer showed 76 percent of Canadians support a hybrid public-private system. But Canadians are left to drop dead while the world’s most disproportionate horde of unionized paper-pushers defends the status quo and gets a free ride from politicians like Albas.

Could we please get an answer Mr. Albas? Soon? You see, it’s what you were elected to do.

This Democracy

Mischa Popoff is a freelance political writer and leader of the Individual Rights Party of B.C.

1 comment:

Toejam said...

Ya'll want government run healthcare? Check this article which appeared today in the "Irish Times" newspaper. And it's only one of many:

Mother of 13 died after misdiagnosis

A 39-YEAR-OLD mother of 13 who first attended the emergency department at a Co Clare hospital in June 2008 with abdominal pain was not diagnosed with appendicitis until November that year and died less than a month later, a Medical Council fitness-to-practise hearing was told yesterday.

Martina Sherlock, Childers Road, Ennis, died on December 10th, 2008, after undergoing three operations in three weeks.

Syed Naqvi, the consultant surgeon who carried out the procedures, yesterday faced 11 allegations of professional misconduct and poor professional performance.

The consultant was practising at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Ennis in 2008 when he carried out the surgery.

Ms Sherlock, who was pregnant for the 14th time when she first presented with abdominal pain at Ennis in June 2008, was initially wrongly diagnosed with acute cholecystitis, an inflammation of the gallbladder. She lost her baby through miscarriage due to septicaemia (blood poisoning) on July 15th and her appendicitis was not diagnosed until November 18th after a CT scan was carried out.

She had three operations at the Ennis hospital to remove the appendix mass, which also involved removing part of her colon. She was transferred to Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick, on December 9th, and died there on December 10th.

The allegations against Mr Naqvi included that he carried out an inappropriate operation on the patient on December 8th and that he failed to arrange for CT scans when required or make adequate arrangements for transfusions in advance of her third surgery. It is also alleged he failed to transfer Ms Sherlock to Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick, within an adequate period.

Counsel for Mr Naqvi, Eileen Barrington SC, said her client, who qualified in Pakistan, had worked in Ireland since 1985 and was an Irish citizen. When he began work at Ennis hospital in 2005 he was one of three general surgeons, but by 2008 he was the only general surgeon there.

In late 2008, the Health Information and Quality Authority had investigated the hospital. It found it was unsafe to continue acute emergency treatment there and the department was closed.

Mr Naqvi transferred to Limerick hospital, where he continues to work. She said her client did not accept the allegations.

Giving evidence on behalf of the Medical Council, expert witness Anthony Peel, a consultant surgeon at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, was particularly critical of the delayed transfer of Ms Sherlock to Limerick hospital where there were better facilities to stabilise her condition. He said she should have been transferred in advance of the third operation.

“Once she became septic again – that is a situation when one is trying to save her life . . . it needs care at a major intensive care unit,” he said.

In a statement read into the record by JP McDowell, solicitor for the Medical Council, Ms Sherlock’s husband of 22 years, James Sherlock, outlined the pain his wife went through and her experiences at the hospital.

“My family have been devastated since Martina passed away and every day has been a struggle since,” he said.

Speaking outside the hearing, he said if he could have changed places with his wife, he would have.