Monday 8 November 2010

Health Care Reform Please!

I am a big supporter of our national health care in Canada, but I think it needs reform now. Advances in medicine and technology mean that we are living longer, but not necessarily healthier. A health care system based on the notion of equity for all has come to a point where all Canadians expect the same level of state of the art treatment, often involving years of complex, longterm care. An aging and educated population with a strong sense of entitlement will spell the tipping point for ending our historical love affair with national health care.

In today's Globe and Mail, Andre Picard spells out the grim numbers of our system and its shackles that inhibit reform in his article "Canada, It's Time to Get Our Health Act Together" . Balancing a nation's deeply embedded value of national health as a right with the frustration of growing waiting lists and inefficiency due to diminishing budgets is tricky, but people are starting to talk differently about systemic change.

In my book, "The Four Walls of My Freedom", I point an accusing finger at our nation's obsession with the either/or of public or private health and social care. Picard writes in his Globe article:
"Canadians need to do away with the notion there is black and white choice between public and private. "There is no one-size-fits-all model for funding and there's no one-size-fits-all model for delivery. There is a spectrum," says Jeffrey Turnbull, president of the Canadian Medical Association."

Am I advocating a US style or insurance based system for meeting our national health care needs? No! But, as the mother of a technologically dependent and medically complex son who lives at home, I know that our system in its current form, lacks the flexibility to allow me to contribute to my son's care. No one person or one entity can manage to pay for the care of someone like my son. It takes a village. Now, let's change our policies to allow the village to help.

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