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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
Stand on a bridge before the cavern of night / Darkness alive with possibility / Nose to this wind full of twinkling lights / Trying to catch the scent of what's coming to be (in this...)
— Bruce Cockburn, World of Wonders
September 13, 2004
Ralph Klein wants $65 billion

Ralph has come up with $65 Billion as his number for the amount of money that the Liberal government needs to hand over to provinces for healthcare. This amount of money would bring Federal funding to 25% in the healthcare sector, at least by Ralph’s math.

Your NDP…er…Liberal health minister, meanwhile, is crowing because his party only promised $9 Billion and is now offering $13 Billion.

What’s wrong with this picture?

The problem here should be obvious; no one is asking what may be the most important question to ask: are we getting value for our money?

The provinces are taking their usual approach: ask for more money and paint the Federal government as the bad guy because they won’t hand it over.

The Federal government, meanwhile, is taking its standard waffling down the middle approach of not wanting to rock the political boat: yes we’re offering money, and the provinces aren’t being realistic. Yes we like health care the way it is and we’re going to defend it.

Our health care system is broken, and needs to be fixed. More money is a placebo, and may be a risk.

Here’s a wonderful example of an anomaly in the system which has an impact on cost.

Just for fun, get on a motorcycle and head up a nice twisy road like the one up Cypress Bowl. Fun, isn’t it? Now open the throttle a little more; the limit is 60, so let’s go about 100. Lean hard into the corner and wait for the wheel to slide out for underneath you. Go sliding along the pavement, break a leg (or two) and maybe an arm.

Now head to the hospital and give them your health card. After they take care of you and let you out, you’ll be fine. A bit worse for wear, but you’re not going to get a bill.

It’s not going to cost you a thing, even though the road was dry and you were well beyond the posted limit; the accident happened because you were riding unsafely, but I’m paying your bill.

Now the comparison: get born unlucky with weak muscles in your eye so that you have to wear glasses. Buy a new pair of glasses and send the bill to your government. See if you get paid.

So there’s the gap: I need glasses, and I have to pay for my own (or get private insurance to do it.) It doesn’t matter whether I’m buying cheap glasses or expensive ones, I still have to pay for them.

On the other hand, if I drive like an idiot the Canadian tax payers are on the hook.

Does that seem fair? Does it seem efficient? Does it seem like the federal government should be handing more money over for a system that permits this to happen?

These types of decisions are hard to make: what’s considered an “at fault” accident and what’s not, and consequently what’s covered and what’s not.

Making hard decisions is what government is all about. Let’s have a serious conversation about how to fix healthcare, and lets make sure that anybody who says “Give us more money!” is chased out of the room.

But first let’s elect a government that can make decisions, instead of vascillating between them constantly.

Posted by skooter at 6:07 PM This entry is filed under Politics.

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