Friday, June 27, 2008

Is Canada's health system overdue for an "Extreme Makeover"?

I've pointed out here on Plastic Surgery 101 that despite the dysfunction of the American health care system, the alternatives in other western nations have their own problems. In 2007 I posed the question "So You Think You Want Universal Health care?" and featured Dr. Val's review of "Sicko" which glowingly featured other countries' systems.

It was particularly interesting to me to see the "religious conversion" of one Claude Castonguay on this topic. Who is Claude Castonguay? He's the father of Canada's socialized medicine program. After four decades, he finally admitting that the system he laid out for Canada is failing to meet both the medical needs of beneficiaries as well as the budget needs of the individual Canadian provinces. Castonguay now advocates contracting out services to the private sector and American-style co-pays for patients who want to see physicians.

For an interesting overview on this, read the Investor's Business Daily editorial page article "Canadian Health Care We So Envy Lies In Ruins, Its Architect Admits". The Canadian author, David Gratzer, has written extensively on Canada's uneasy relationship with their countries health program.



Anonymous said...

Claude Castonguay wasn't the founder of the canadian health care system. It was tommy douglas from the province of Saskatchewan who was the premier at the time(premier is like governor of an american state) he brought it to Saskatchewan in the 1950's then took his fight to Ottawa and got the Liberal government socialize medecine in 1965. My countries system may have flaws but if you ask Canadians if they would switch their system with America's the vast majority would stick with the Canadian system!

Dr. Rob Oliver said...

My understanding was that the Castonguay-Nepveu report that Castonguay produced in the 1960's was the blueprint for the system that became Health Canada hence the "father of Canadian healthcare" title. I will however defer to the natives, eh! :)

Snafu Suz said...

ALL health care systems have flaws. If there was such a thing as a flawless system everyone would be using it already. That said, the American system has SERIOUS flaws that need to be addressed. What does it say about our country that we're not taking care of our people? NO ONE should have to skip a mammogram or any other preventative test because they don't have insurance. NO ONE should have to forego life-saving treatment because they can't afford their co-pay. There are plenty of people in the US who are NOT deadbeats, who work HARD, and yet they still don't have adequate insurance if they have any insurance at all. Unfortunately in our insurance-based system, your insurance plan (or lack thereof) can mean the difference between life and death.

One problem with America in general is we have a societal attitude of "everyone for himself" rather than compassion for our fellow man. It's BS to say that everyone in our country has the same opportunites as everyone else - they don't. That includes access for EVERYONE to basic health care. The Canadian's would be insane to switch to our system.

America boasts about how we are "the greatest country in the world". I'm not so sure we are. But to humor our ego, if we really are the greatest then why can't we come up with a better system? If we're so great, why can't we look at all the systems out there, take the best qualities of each one, and create a new system that ensures quality health care for everyone?

"Universal Health Care" doesn't have to mean we suddenly become a socialist society, or that we have to duplicate other universal systems that already exist. For some reason people who are against a universal health system automatically think we have to take on an existing, flawed system, and then point fingers and argue, "Look at Canada (or France, or Sweden, etc)! You don't want THAT, do you?!" Maybe not, but what's stopping us from creating something new?

Hey fellow Americans, let's smarten up and get someone in the White House who isn't so narrow-minded, short-sighted and self-serving!!!

Tom Fiala said...

+1 on Saskatchewan Premier Tommy Douglas. That's what we all learned in school, up in the "Great White North".

Happy Canada Day.

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