Medicare under attack from several directions

Dear editor,

If Steven Harper is killing medicare as Ms. Frayne suggests (Record, April 8), he has many accomplices.

Medicare (the unofficial name for universal health insurance) has been slowly being strangled by a myriad of forces since it went national in 1957.

Our health-care system has always been a public-profit collaboration.

Laboratory and pharmaceutical services are often delivered by for-profit investor-owned corporations, as are dental, optometry, and physiotherapy, to name only a few. With rare exceptions, medical doctors are small for-profit independent businesses.

Our health-care system is merely a publicly funded one where services are provided by a mixture of public and private entities. Dr. Albert Schumacher, former president of the Canadian Medical Association, estimates that 75 per cent of health-care services are delivered privately, but funded publicly.

Because health care is deemed to be under provincial jurisdiction, there has never been a truly "Canadian Health Care System."

Publicly funded insurance is already organized at the level of the province/territory; each manages its own insurance system, including issuing its own healthcare identification cards.

There has always been inconsistency from province to province in the extent of publicly funded coverage, particularly for such items as outpatient drug coverage and rehabilitation, as well as vision care, mental health, and long-term care, with a substantial portion of such services being paid for privately, either through private insurance, or out-of-pocket.

I think it is unfair to point the finger at politicians as the only culprits to our long-standing health-care delivery troubles.

Inappropriate use, greed, astronomically expensive and constantly changing technologies, a population that refuses to be accountable for taking care of themselves are only a few of the complex issues that plague our ideologically “beloved” system.

Then the government finally got something right, and after much investigation and study determined that a regional hospital is needed (and are willing to fund it!) to provide universal, timely access to safe quality care (which are the exact words in the Federal Healthcare Accord Covenant) to the people of northern Vancouver Island.

I find it repulsive that members of that same vocal minority who killed our hope for real access to specialists’ care and appropriate funding are so ready to point the fingers at others.

Barbara Mellin, RN,



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