The Eagle Blog

Challenging the Norms – Healthcare

A little while ago I wrote a blog entry called Challenging the Norms, which suggested that perhaps as a society we put blinkers on and just do things because that is how it always was. I zeroed in on three semi-controversial subjects;
(a) Why our government should get to choose to grow without the blessing of those who pay for it;
(b) Why can’t older people perform some of the military’s dangerous tasks (youth is not always necessary); and
(c) Why can’t people receiving “free” money from society be expected to provide some service back in payment?

Today’s subject is again a little controversial, and perhaps even more topical … it relates to our healthcare system.

Earlier today we took our dog to the vet, as she had been obviously under the weather. We called around 9:30 am and she was seen at 1:30pm. Test were performed this afternoon and by 4pm she was having relatively serious surgery. At the vet hospital she had blood tests, x-rays and stool sample testing. Had she needed it she could have had an MRI or almost any other diagnostic to see what was needed.

Does it strike you as strange that in our society animals can receive treatment this quickly and yet Canadian human beings can’t? Well actually we can, we just have to hop across the border and give our Canadian dollars to a US facility, or perhaps take a flight to India for surgery in some of the best equipped hospitals in the world.

Canada’s Universal Healthcare system is among the best in the world, but that is not going to remain the case if we don’t do something.

I had no family doctor for more than five years … there are many, many people in the same boat.

If I am willing to pay for a service then why am I denied that right in Canada? My dog isn’t!

Ours is a changing world and we need different thinking in order to protect our way of life, whether we are businesses or governments or even individuals.

In the case of healthcare demographic changes alone will put tremendous pressure on our systems.

(a) As the boomers retire they will become “takers” from the system rather than contributors (they will be collecting pensions rather than paying taxes).
(b) There will be less people actually working as a proportion of our population. These are the people that will be paying for our healthcare system.
(c) People are living longer and they are a drain on the system because of lifestyle related issues, for example our modern society has increased obesity and all of the related medical issues that go with that.
(d) Much of the world is dealing with the same issues, so there is more demand for medical staff. Which means hanging onto our trained nurses and doctors is going to be tough.
(e) Other countries offer us medical options so we do have people travelling out of country to get their healthcare needs met already … I can only surmise that supply and demand will only cause this to increase.

Why are we hanging onto the old way of doing things? Why do we resist change so forcefully? Doing nothing is the last thing we should be doing!

I guess in my next life I’ll have to come back as a dog. A dog’s life used to be synonymous with something undesirable … I’m not so sure here in Canada.


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2 thoughts on “Challenging the Norms – Healthcare

  1. There was a wonderfully cynical observation on health care from Sir Humphrey, a civil servant depicted so vividly in the BBC series "Yes Minister".

    I don't have an exact quote, but he said something to the effect that tobacco smoking provides a great benefit to the Treasury. Not only does it generate enormous tax revenues, but the premature deaths due to smoking saves the National Health millions every year. All of those people would otherwise live to a ripe old age, drawing huge pension benefits and burdening the health system with the afflictions of the aged.

  2. There was a wonderfully cynical observation on health care from Sir Humphrey, a civil servant depicted so vividly in the BBC series "Yes Minister".

    I don't have an exact quote, but he said something to the effect that tobacco smoking provides a great benefit to the Treasury. Not only does it generate enormous tax revenues, but the premature deaths due to smoking saves the National Health millions every year. All of those people would otherwise live to a ripe old age, drawing huge pension benefits and burdening the health system with the afflictions of the aged.

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