Letter: Joining in on the uproar regarding medicare in British Columbia

Re: Amber Buxton’s letter in the June 22 Williams Lake Tribune, Health care crisis should be leading to uproar.


Re: Amber Buxton’s letter in the June 22 Williams Lake Tribune, Health care crisis should be leading to uproar.

You can add me, a cancer survivor, to its uproar.

In March of 2001 a Williams Lake doctor newly arrived from Saskatchewan, as Amber is, suspected I had cancer. A Williams Lake biopsy sample, thank you, Dr. Brossard, sent to Kamloops and Vancouver confirmed my non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I was 39.

My doctor didn’t know the formalities of booking cancer treatment but, luckily for me, she called the Vancouver Cancer Centre and said she was sending me.

The Vancouver cancer doctor, Joseph Connors, world renowned, found 17 tumours in my lymph glands.

One tumour was beside my liver. I had a 40 per cent chance of surviving five years. I am still here 15 years later.

The summer of 2001 entailed six trips to Vancouver for chemotherapy, including one drug from tropical plants and another drug, then experimental, made using cloned mouse cells.

The Vancouver protocol is a national standard for cancer treatment.

This is my first local newspaper letter since 2001, when I wrote that I would fight for medicare.

I join Amber’s uproar. My experience shows a flaw in medicare, still a system far superior to the money-driven circus that denies medical care to tens of millions in the U.S.

B.C. charges medical premiums; even Alberta, where I was born and raised, stopped charging premiums.

Premiums bring money, but cost more public money in acute care later, for people whom premiums dissuade from seeking medical help.

The medical billing system is a major, expensive flaw. Doctors, like teachers, and I am a recovering teacher, are public servants. Does a teacher bill the government for each child she teaches? No.

A child comes to a public school, albeit in a system undermined by decades of government and school administration myopia, and media shilling for privatized education. The child gets a teacher and, sometimes, an education. I had a doctor here in 2001. She got me from retiring Dr. Grace. She later handed me to another doctor and moved away.

That doctor later did the same. Me? A medical football. That doctor remains my doctor, my third female doctor in a row. Every year she examines me to see if the cancer is back. So far, so alive.

Amber Buxton should have a family doctor or, at least, a walk-in clinic — cheaper than an emergency ward.

Saskatchewan intended a clinic system when it began medicare in 1962, against stiff doctor resistance.

Those doctors are all likely stiffs now.

Saskatchewan and, later, Canada, retained a major role for the fee-for-service system, a mistake not made by England, by Europe, generally, or by other countries with socialized medicine. Socialism isn’t evil; it’s evolutionary.

Humans evolved working together for common goals.

Let the uproar for medicare continue and, succeed, finally.

Michael Wynne

Williams Lake

Williams Lake Tribune

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