First I need to explain how the system actually works and how the funding is administrated.
The term 'National Healthcare' can be very misleading. In fact, each province does administer it’s own program. The Provincial governments are
the ones that run the actual program. This allows different areas of the countries to address their unique issues. In countries like ours that
stretch coast to coast, there can be different priorities for different regions. Our program allows the individual province to tailor the program to
the needs of the area it serves.
What the Federal government does is set guidelines and standards to ensure Canadians across the country receive the same access to basic care through
the Canada Health Act
, contribute a portion of the funding from the federal taxes we pay, run some
public health programs
and provide research funding. The only groups they oversee are First Nations,
Veterans and the Inuit. There is no man in an office in Ottawa deciding who gets Jello for lunch in Vancouver or who gets a kidney.
The majority of the funding comes from the Provincial governments. The Federal government has drastically reduced transfer payments to the provinces
with the largest cuts under the Mulroney government, forcing the provinces to make up the difference. This is where the trouble started.
I’m going to use BC’s system, because I know it best, to illustrate the actual problems facing our system.
First, the way the Provincial government allocates funds is stupid. They have a separate budget for buildings. And anyone who has ever had to make a
budget at work knows the rule is 'use it or lose it'. So we have buildings sitting empty because we don’t have the staff. Nice big buildings
with no furniture or patients in them.
Second, we are currently in a shortage of skilled professionals. Well, not a real shortage, we have lots of foreign trained nurses and doctors but
they get to drive taxis and be nannies, because the College of Physicians & Surgeons of BC
Registered Nurses Association of BC
make it almost impossible to get their credentials recognized. They are afraid
they newcomers won’t be as strong supporters of the unions as Canadian born workers.
Bringing me to the third problem, but this one is just my own personal opinion, the unions. Wages are the biggest cost to the system, but the unions
here are so militant, they have no problem closing hospitals and if people die, oh well, it’s the government’s fault. The last time the nurses
went on strike they demanded a 35% raise. Can you say unreasonable?
And I don’t even have a problem with nurses and doctors making big money, I think they deserve it. The problem is that laundry staff, janitorial
staff, kitchen workers and a lot of clerical staff are in the same union. And after a while, they can make 20 bucks an hour for washing dishes.
Ironically, one of the nurse’s complaints is excessive overtime, because the can’t afford to hire more workers.
To address some specific things namehere mentioned quickly because this is way too long already:
1. Our system is only two years younger than yours.
2.I never suggested cutting your military budget; I was using it as an example of different countries having different priories.
3.We pay more taxes than you. It’s a given that you have to pay more tax to have universal healthcare, we just think its important enough.
The whole idea behind our universal healthcare system is preventative care. The theory goes that if people have annual physicals, and go to the
doctor when they first feel unwell, it will reduce the load on the health system by improving the general health of the population.
When universal healthcare came into being, the only people who fought it were insurance companies, medical corporations and associations, and the drug
companies. Not the people I trust to have my best interests at heart.