The health care debate Stephen Harper is ready to have

For those interested in a health care debate ahead of impending federal-provincial negotiations, the Harper government seems keen to start the discussion on their terms. Or rather, their term.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, May 18.

I do think that the public wants to understand better from all governments how the amounts of money we’re putting into health care are going to lead to better outcomes, greater accountability for results.

Throne Speech, June 3.

Our Government is committed to respecting provincial jurisdiction and working with the provinces and territories to ensure that the health care system is sustainable and that there is accountability for results.

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, yesterday.

Our discussions will emphasize the importance of accountability and results for Canadians, including better reporting from the provinces and territories to measure progress and guarantees covering additional medically necessary procedures.

Accountability is a term the Health Council of Canada seems interested in as well.




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The health care debate Stephen Harper is ready to have

  1. “Accountability” in some mouths, is another word for “Blame.”

    • “The grand fallacy of the political left is that decisions are better made by third parties who pay no price for being wrong” ~ T Sowell 

      • Stuff the quotes up your a$$ and think for yourself.

        • Like you?

          • now you’re talking.

        • “…. and think for yourself.”

          Like you?

          Didn’t your mom teach you that if you are using swear language than you have lost argument because you wouldn’t be swearing if you had a point.

          • You’ve never heard my mother.

          • hahahahahahahahaha.

            That was funny, good one.

    • Someone has to look at accountability or “blame” if you want to call it that.  Do you know the price they pay for a binder that they call a “chart”?  Between $95 and $100 each.  No one is accountable for the administrative costs.  Why is that when the govt. outsources to a private clinic, everything is run more efficiently and cost-effectively…because stake holders don’t let the tail wag the dog.  There is no excuse for this inefficiency in the system.  People are careless with the taxpayers money.

        • Hmmm substantive comment versus sarcastic response. Opinion of doug rogers slips another point. I wish they would bring the “thumbs down” back.

          • For some reason the rest of my response was lost in the Internet ether.

            Sent from my iPod

          • “people are careless…”

            This is a truism. It is not necessarily the truth.

            How much does a band aid cost in the Canadian healthcare system versus the American?

            And further, no one has bothered to address my skepticism about the framing language of accountability versus blame. They just leap to defend private for profit systems or dump ad hominem.

            Healthcareinsider’s response was posted to me within minutes of my posting at 2 pm or so.

            Besides anyone can cite hearsay example and counterexample.

            Sent from my iPod

          • Gawd doug – nurses in this country work something called “the night shift” so your ridiculous comment about my not working shows how little you think before you enter a comment.  Nurses in this country also work weekends and holidays and sometimes get days off during the week.  As for what a bandage cost in the US v. Canada has nothing to do with my comment about run away administrative costs.  We have as many supervisors and managers as we have front-line workers in some cases.  I was discussing the price that the govt pays for stationery.  I was not flouting a private system.  In fact, I am very much in favor of the public system we have.  I am just telling you as an insider that there is waste that could be addressed without interrupting service in anyway. 

          • There is no reply link in your post below.

            So you weren’t working when you posted the response. Why so defensive?

            And the cost of bandages does indeed provide a counter-example about runaway costs. 

            There may be good reasons why stationery costs so much. There may be good reasons why a bandaid costs so little.

            After Walkerton in Ontario I remain skeptical about there being ‘fat’, and ‘efficiencies’ which can be trimmed. There may be. Tell us what they are. You may have an example which may be accurate. Else, ‘accountability’, ‘fat’ and ‘efficiencies’ remain buzzwords which have specifically framed meaning to the core support.

            Nurses were system fat as far as Harris and Flaherty were concerned.

          • Yes, I wish for it too. I could thumb down all the rude, pedantic, obtuse posters with self-confirmed opinions I disagree with.

          • Doug, there is no  ”reply” to your comment above so I will here.  
            “There might be a good reason why stationery costs so much” – if you were in a private business – you would ask yourself that question and then you would investigate ways to the stationery costs – $95.00 for a binder is a bit excessive.  My point is that because no one “owns” this particular healthcare business – no one even bats an eye at paying $95.00 for a binder.  As to the bandaid – in the US it is likely they factor in the price of obtaining the bandaid from the supplier (someone from the hospital orders it), the price of having the nurse take the bandaid off the cart and put it on the patient, etc. into the cost of the bandaid.  We do that in Canada too.  A change of bed linen is $80.00. 
            As to my being defensive about not working…why did you even question my working or not working at that time? 
            I also gave examples below about ways to cut costs – less management; more front-line workers.  As for politicians wanting to cut nurses, that is their progative….personally, I think it is a bad place to make cuts.  Patient outcomes are proven to be better when you have a higher ratio of RNs to patient.  The RNs shorten hospital stays and help avoid complications.

      • Fix the system. Don’t outsource it to Al’s Cut Rate Heart Valves and Rhinoplasty Emporium.

        1/3 of eligible Canadians installed this bean-counter. Shouldn’t he be DOING something for the money?

        Besides asking us to name his cat?!

        • I am all in favor of fixing the system.  My problem is when people deny that the system can be fixed.  It is not necessary to go private but we must run the system as though it is our own personal business that we want to thrive and survive.  We have to prioritize and put money into the the right places.  We are short of front-line workers but drowning in administrative personnel and management.  There has to be some accountability.

      • I don’t doubt your claims, but they point to the need for auditing of companies supplying goods and services to the health sector.  Those supplies should be coming from competitive bids.  Are they?  If not, why not?  If so, why are the prices out of touch with reality?

        • It is like this.  We don’t own the company and nobody is really paying attention to the costs because this is a billion dollar business so what does it matter if we order this or that after all the govt (Alberta) changed the name of the company three times in two years and all the stationery had to get changed each time…there is so much waste, what is a little more….

          • Don’t they outsource this kind of stuff?  Somebody’s making a pile of cash along the supply chain somewhere.  It sure as hell isn’t the front-line workers (doctors excepted).

    • Harper uses “accountability’ a lot with Aboriginals and countries we send aid to.  I wish he would lead by example.

  2. Oh, sure… it’s OK to expect others to be accountable for their actions…

    • Can’t we just have some sort of mature discussion about trying to find a way to sustain the system without resorting to the same old partisan BS.  Fine…we admit Harper isn’t accountable.  Let’s move forward.

      • It’s up to Harper to work with the provinces.  It does no good for him to sit in Ottawa issuing judgements like this. 

      • Hey… just sayin’. Be happy to discuss maturely once we see some concrete plan; tossing around the word “accountable” is not a plan.

        As for the “partisan BS” – have you actually read the stuff the CPC supporters post here regularly? Someone oughta tell them they won the war. Never heard of “sore winners” before…

        • Okay Keith, I already admitted Harper was accountable but you had to take another swipe at the CPC supporters…fine…I’ll give you that.

          “Accountability in health care is very important.  Up to this point, Canadians just freak at the thought that public healthcare might disappear.  However, the fact is that it will have to evolve somehow as it is not sustainable in its current manifestation.  I would never suggest that private healthcare is the way to go but I do think that everybody including govt, healthcare providers and patients are going to have to look at some creative models of healthcare delivery and ways to increase efficiency and keep costs down. 

          • I would never suggest that private healthcare is the way to go but I do think that everybody including govt, healthcare providers and patients are going to have to look at some creative models of healthcare delivery and ways to increase efficiency and keep costs down.

            On that, we are in perfect agreement.

      • There’s nothing really to discuss at this juncture. Just some rhetoric.

        It’s pretty hard to argue with ‘accountability’. But making health care delivery (more) accountable won’t solve all of our problems.

      • This is political rhetoric like anything else. The real deal is already being negotiated by civil servants in Federal and Provincial Health Departments. The PM is just preparing you for what the results are going to be.

  3. TorStar, May 24, 2011

    Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak is pledging to boost spending on health care by $6.1-billion over four years if he becomes premier after the fall election.

    It shouldn’t be much of a hardship, as the federal government has already promised to maintain annual health-care increases of six per cent until at least 2016.
    ——–

    Thomas Sowell:

     Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.

    The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it.

    The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.

    • Troll bait. Stop it.

    • I thought you were going to stop cutting and pasting?

    • You have nothing to add of your own?

      • Will you ever provide facts to back up your assertions?

        • ^Troll.

          Which assertion would you like facts for? I gave you the U of Waterloo Act–explains all about it.

          • The problem Andrew_notPorC  is that I think of my money as my own and 
            you/Government think of my money as yours.

            I don’t care about sources of funding, it is all coming out of my and other tax payers pocket.

            That is why bureaucracy is getting bigger and more expensive, budgets are getting bigger and were running massive deficits but government is cutting programs.

          • You’re evading.

            A substantial portion of the U of Waterloo’s budget comes from the pockets of students and donors–very much not your pocket. Johnston was responsible for a massive increase in donations to the University, reducing the proportion of its budget that comes from government sources. Surely you’re happy about the work he did?

          • TonyAdams: … I think of my money as my own and Government think of my money as yours …. I don’t care about sources of funding, it is all coming out of my and other tax payers pocket. 

            Andrew: You’re evading. A substantial portion of the U of Waterloo’s budget comes from the pockets of students and donors–very much not your pocket. 

            We have to stop this, we are going round in circles. We have now clearly illustrated why left and right don’t understand one another.

          • If you were a libertarian, you wouldn’t care what students and donors did with their money, freely given to the University. Square the circle.

          • You are not espousing any coherent conservative ideology. You’re mostly incoherent. All I’ve been able to gather is that you think Johnston gets paid rather a lot of money, and you’re fond of some program called SWIW that got cancelled, and for some reason you believe these are causally  linked. I could blame solar flares for SWIW getting cancelled, equally plausibly.

          • “I could blame solar flares for SWIW getting cancelled, equally plausibly.”

            I have no doubt you would believe it if some marxist prof proved it.

      • “If you were a libertarian, you wouldn’t care what students and donors did with their money, freely given to the University. Square the circle.”

        “You are not espousing any coherent conservative ideology. You’re mostly incoherent.”

        You are killing me!

        Taxes are payments the state collects under the threat of violence. Money is fungible. I don’t agree with much government policy. 

        You think in Lib government, Con government terms, I think of State/Bureaucracy.

        What is confusing you is that I am disagreeing Con government as well as other left wing parties. As far as I am concerned, all of our major parties have been left wing now for at least forty years.

        Steve Pinker: But in most cases even the possibility that the correlations reflect shared genes is taboo.

        Our causations/correlations are completely different.

        That’s my ideology – agree to disagree, please?

        • Taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilized society.”
          - Oliver Wendell Holmes, a good Republican.

          • “Taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilized society”

            I agree 100%.

            Not all of us agree with Holmes, or other progressives for that matter, about what makes for a civilized society or how our taxes should be spent.

            He was thinking of free market society America, not 21st century Canada, in the early 1900s.

            Wendell Holmes also said  ”Do not be bullied out of your common sense by the specialist; two to one, he is a pedant.” 

            Everyone, other than left wing who believe in specialists, is right wing if they understand taxes = coercion

            Where are we spending our money, progressives?

            I am killing myself laughing over here. 

            Edmonton Sun May 2011

            “A dangerous offender hearing began in court Thursday for an Edmonton pedophile who abducted and raped two young girls while under supervision in the community.

            Court has heard Gratton is a registered sex offender with a long history of abusing children and was being supervised at the time of the October 2008 attacks as a long-term offender stemming from a sentence he was handed in 2002 for repeatedly sexually assaulting six young kids.”

            ” …. of all Ontario public sector workers who are paid more than $100,000. A total of 71,478 government employees made the list in 2010, up 11 per cent from 2010. There were 64,000 names on the list that year;.”

            “The Canadian government has announced to cut funding to Ontario Youth Program that has been a huge success in settlement of new immigrants.”

            For the last seven years, the Conservatives have far outpaced the other parties when it comes to keeping the war chest stocked, raising more money from more supporters …. That contrasts with the Liberal party, which collected more in public subsidies last year — $7.3 million — than the $6.6 million it got in donations.”

          • See, you’re not a Libertarian at all….you just like the ‘no taxes’ part. I notice you don’t live in Somalia though

            Mostly you’re just crotchety, and don’t know how to post on a chat site.

          • Better? 

             ”Do not be bullied out of your common sense by the specialist; two to one, he is a pedant.”

             —-

            Taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilized society

            —–

            of all Ontario public sector workers who are paid more than $100,000. A total of 71,478 government employees made the list in 2010, up 11 per cent from 2010.

            ——-

            “The Canadian government has announced to cut funding to Ontario Youth Program that has been a huge success in settlement of new immigrants.”

          • ‘Pedant’ doesn’t mean what you think it does.

          • Holmes was progressive talking about free market society America and it’s lack of taxes.

            Wiki: A pedant is a person who is excessively concerned with formalism and precision, or who makes a show of their learning.

          • A pedant may be boring, but they aren’t harmful.

            America has always had taxes, and Holmes stated why we need them

          • To quote Tony:

            “”Taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilized society”

            I agree 100%.”

            Where do you get that he likes ‘no taxes’ out of this?

          • Days, nay weeks, of his preaching libertarianism for everyone….unless they have a uterus, are professors, or want an education etc…and stressing he doesn’t want taxes.

            Tony is kinda all over the map….you just came in at the end of it

        • Taxes are payments the state collects under the threat of violence.

          Violence? Seriously? You sure you live in Canada, Tony?

          Easiest way to get governments to lower the tax rate: get all those who under-report incomes and otherwise evade taxes to start paying, so the rest of us don’t have to cover their share. Once revenues rise above need, rates can drop. (Assuming, of course, the government doesn’t decide to go on a spending spree with the extra cash.)

          • Violence? Seriously? You sure you live in Canada, Tony?

            I am sure, yes. Do you think we pay taxes voluntarily?

            Sudbury, Ontario, May 6, 2011… 

            Davin Omeir, formerly of Sundridge, Ontario, pleaded guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice in Parry Sound on March 15, 2011 to two counts of income tax evasion under the Income Tax Act and to one count of fraud over $5,000, one count of money laundering and one count of possession of proceeds of crime under the Criminal Code. 

            On April 1, 2011, in the Ontario Court of Justice in Sudbury, Justice Glaude sentenced Omeir to one year in prison for each count of tax evasion, to be served concurrently.

            http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/nwsrm/cnvctns/menu-eng.html

          • Convictions for failure to obey the law hardly constitutes violence.

            When the sentence involves physical punishment, write back. In the meantime, get yourself a new dictionary.

  4. I don’t see how any district health authority could refuse to submit to both financial and operating/procedural audits.  Is that the kind of accountability we’re talking about here, or is ‘accountability’ code for ‘privatization’?

    • accountability is code for costs vs results.  those reports Geddes was criticising a half year ago or so(from the fraser institute i think?) indicated we pay more for healthcare for less tangible services for instance.  There may be a very good reason for that (geography, spending on preventative measures, etc), but someone should at least be able to say where the money is going, and justify that various healthcare program costs are worth it, compare best practices between provinces, etc. 

      This doesn’t mean privatisation necessarily, though various diagnostic procedures have been outsourced to the private sector (paid for by the public sector) for years here.  If combing through the books suggests that this indeed has been cost effective perhaps further privatisation along this vein would be a good thing and not something to inspire fear.

      In short accountability is code for looking to improve efficiencies in anticipation of increased load in the future, without giving the image of gutting the healthcare system and moving towards private insurance.  Will anything come of it?  Seems unlikely.

      • Yes, I think you are absolutely right in terms of what accountability means and in your assertion that we should be able to justify the way we spend the money.
        My question about the outsourcing of services is why the private sector can do the work for efficiently an cost effectively than the public sector can – be it diagnostic imaging or lab services or whatever.  We need to look at how the private companies work and what they do better.  We can’t be afraid to take a critical look at the public system and admit it needs to evolve. 

  5. / STOP
    |Harper |
    ______/

    • Catchy phrase – I like it.

  6. Excess Harper is bad for the health.

  7. How can anyone say that people who spend taxpayer money be accountable is a bad thing. I just can’t see it.

    • Absolutely they should. It just sounds… funny? hypocritical? jaded?… coming from Harper, given how they waste our money (G8 for example), and go out of their way to avoid accounting for their own numbers (think fighters).

      • I knew this would start, but to be blunt, was Cretien accountable and transparent? The minority gov’t that Harper ruled with was subject to much more scrutiny that what a majority gov’t would have been. That is the way our democracy is set up. If the Federal gov’t had to disclose every penny spent and every document created, we wouldn’t vote for anyone.

        • Now it sounds like you’re arguing against accountability.

          Accountability is a good thing. More governments should practice it more assiduously. Harper gets extra razzing on the accountability front because he long preached it while in opposition and seldom delivered on it since attaining office. Hypocrisy is seldom pretty.

          If he’d come close to matching his past promise on accountability (or many others) I wouldn’t be so cynical about current promises. As a “blue liberal” I’d be much more inclined to vote CPC if the man could just keep his word. (The Harris retreads don’t help his cause much, either…)

          • I am saying that a gov’t that had to disclose everything would not be effective – liberal or conservative. A minority parliament leads to a lot of the bickering. I would expect that he will have an easier time keeping his word, now that he doesn’t have to negotiate every bill through the house.

  8. Accountability?

    In our healthcare system?

    Just as likely to find someone that can do long division in a fine arts school.

    • I am sure the is one . . .somewhere. :)

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