From the mouths of musicians (II)


Measha Brueggergosman has some doubts about the health care system.

“As patients, we’re made to feel like we should be thankful for whatever we get, but that’s a lie which keeps our health-care system from improving,” she says, holding court, and delivering strong judgment, as a cavalcade of well-wishers, hairdressers and PR men saunter through her home.

“Restaurants are more technologically savvy than our health-care service providers and, while I believe in paying taxes, when a hospital doesn’t listen or is patronizing or misses something they should see, our system is definitely wrong. We’ve been lazy in keeping our health-care system accountable because it’s free, but you get what you pay for,” she says. “I felt like I was doomed from the start.”


From the mouths of musicians (II)

  1. I hope this will be a regular feature.

  2. I don't doubt that a sore throat would not cause an emergency room doctor to think aorta; all the more reason to get patient records on-line so that Miss B.'s history would be available. eHealth will eventually mean more than wasted tax dollars by trough-feeding consultants.

  3. She should be counting her lucky stars. Most people with a dissecting aortic aneurysm don't
    make it to the operating room. A lot don't make it to the emergency room. Most are discovered
    while being investigated for something else.

    I don't blame her for being upset. Most people who've gone through a crappy experience look
    for something to blame. But she's a smart lady. She'll probably have a re-think with time.
    But the NattyPoo won't write about it.

  4. Thing is, her concerns wouldn't be addressed by a pay system either. The primary issue is that doctors and nurses tend to treat anyone heading into the ER with less than a limb on a second stretcher as beneath their interest and an inconvenience on their time as you're 'supposed' to go to the 'family doctor' for your 'minor aches and pains'.

    You know, the 'family doctor', that 19th century 'monday to friday 10-5, if I don't have an important golf appointment' holdover that we can't kill and replace with 24/7 salaried communal walk-in clinics for some reason.

  5. I'm sick and tired of hearing people say that socialism doesn't work. It works great for us. Take the health care system for example. Not a single doctor or nurse gets educated, is allowed to immigrate, or is licensed to work in this country without our say so. No hospitals get built, no injections are given and no x-rays or MRIs get taken unless an army of governmentopians is first hired, equipped, and paid to decide whether it would be "in the public good". The more people complain about lack of service, the more of us that they hire – first to study the problem, then to write reports, then to build entire new departments and agencies and open new offices, and finally to implement our "solutions", which naturally fail to make anyone in the public happy and which therefore cause the cycle to repeat.

    It's the perfect system for governmentopians because failure is built in. And since it's a monopoly backed by the force of the state, instead of causing the politically-run bureaucracy to be scrapped and replaced with private, competitive systems, failure is the stimulus to build an even larger bureaucracy with even more failure built in. As long as the public doesn't understand how it works we can go on like this forever.

    So we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the media and to the legions of loudmouth, Foghorn-Leghorn members of the public who, in the face of ever larger and more obvious failures, constantly strive not to dismantle the communist system but to find more and more ways to give us in the government more money and more power to, you know, fix it.

    • You're right. You'd be much happier in Somalia.

    • Actually, that just proves the point that in order to get "real money" by health care professionals, first you have to break the system. Then, you have to say "it's all because of our socialistic health care". Then once you've got approval for an unlimited pay, you can fix the system you broke in the first place. I don't just mean doctors, hospital administrators, politicians, boards–their all in on the scam.

      Having doctors immigrate to this country only to find they cannot work as doctors has nothing to do with how we pay for health care. Having too few doctors graduate from our own schools also has nothing to do with how we pay for health care. It has to do with some people not thinking they get a big enough slice of the pie.

    • Thanks for reminding me to check out the GPC platform/shadow budget. I like the broad strokes, except how they are not apparently anti-business and meddlesome in the economy. GPC has appeal as a fiscal conservative party that values economic incentives to reduce ecological damage.

  6. How is it socialist if a private physician can open a clinic, see as many patients as he likes, order tests and prescribe medicines (conveniently supplied by his private lab and pharmacy) and bill the whole shebang to the public system without the funders having any say at all in practice guidelines, hours of operation, timeliness, or quality of care?

    The problem isn't public or private, it's accountability, whether we're talking "public" hospitals, or "private" primary care.

  7. 'not apparently' should be 'now apparently'

  8. The US publicly subsidizes healthcare through Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, veterans, county and state hospitals, tax breaks to employers offering insurance to employees and pre-tax healthcare accounts for those employees. The US does NOT have a purely private system. Estimates range from 40-60% of total healthcare spending in the US is government subsidized — and they still spend more than anyone else, healthcare costs still lead as a cause of personal bankruptcies, they fail to insure millions and underinsure millions more. Canada has a single-payor system (provincial insurance) and a mandate for universal coverage. The system is mixed, with both non-profit and for-profit delivery (your blood tests likely were taken in a privately managed facility and processed by a private lab like MDS).

    I lived in the the US for 28 years and had an insiders view of the healthcare system due to my father's profession and as a patient. I've seen public, private and religious hospitals — urban and rural — all over the US East Coast. Good ones, mediocre ones, terrible ones. I've lived with no insurance (like nearly 50 million others), private insurance and HMO insurance (which was a joke). My family and friends have faced the prospect of forgoing healthcare because of financial fears. These aren't theoreticals — they're real experiences.

    The Canadian system has flaws and inconsistencies, to be sure. But after 11 years in Canada, I can say without a freakin' doubt — this system is better. At 2/3 the cost, we cover everyone and match or exceed US healthcare outcomes in all major areas measured.

    None of the things that will improve Canadian healthcare have much to do with our single-payor system. Ask private care advocates how they can improve on our system's outcomes without omitting the chronically ill, the poor and while simultaneously bleeding off sufficient profits for shareholders. Then cue the crickets.

    Let's have a serious debate about improving the single-payor system, investing in technology and long-term planning for changing health professional and patient needs, addressing the imbalances between regions, urban vs. rural healthcare access, etc., rather than being deluded by ideologues and their profiteer backers.

  9. Musn't keep a star waiting. It always needs improvement but the biggest problem – shortage of doctors (at least in Ontario).

    I think we should pay the tuition of kids who want to be doctors (at the end of course, when they graduate). It takes years and expensive to be a doctor, plus setting up a practise. We should help them.

    • Only if you can also persuade everyone to live with the idea that more doctors = more costs.

      Good luck with that.

  10. You should also correct this misstatement:

    GPC has appeal as a fiscal conservative party that values economic incentives to reduce ecological damage.

    I think you meant "had appeal". Then they elected the très gauche Elizabeth May. "Fiscal conservative" in the Sierra Club of Canada Party is an oxymoron.