Clinical service manager Bill Sherlock holds a flu vaccine syringe at the Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit, Oct. 3, 2012.
Credits: LUKE HENDRY/THE INTELLIGENCER/QMI AGENCY
Death panels are back in the news.
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin popularized the expression back in 2009. It was a stark warning against Obamacare, the dark side of universal, state-run health care.
And with scarce resources, who decides who gets the coverage? Death Panels.
As Palin described, these panels give the ultimate decision-making power to a panel of government officials. Central planners decide which health procedures are provided. Faceless bureaucrats will say who is worthy of coverage, and who is not.
These panels take local decisions about care and coverage away from the patient, away from the doctor, and away from the local hospital.
Palin’s death panel warning is reality in Canada, Ontario in particular.
There are five key principles that govern the Canada Health Act: Public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability and accessibility. That final principle, accessibility, states that “all Canadians must have reasonable access to health-care facilities.”
Since not all procedures are available in all regions, patients who need a procedure offered elsewhere must apply for out-of-province care. If the application is approved, the patient gets the procedure. If its denied, they’re out of luck and can pay out of pocket.
The system is not designed to help hard-working Canadians who play by the rules, pay their taxes and in turn, expect that medical procedures will be available if and when they’re needed. We are all fed the lie that our health care covers all people for all procedures.
This just isn’t the case. The system is so strained, and health care is so chronically mismanaged, that administrators do what they must to balance their books. The outcome is a system that increasingly stacks the odds against average Canadians.
The government manages the system in its best interest, not yours.
Universal health care does not guarantee universal coverage, or even universal access. It merely institutes a government monopoly, where you and I and our doctors don’t have the power to make the most important decisions. Even though “accessibility” is a key aspect of our health care, it is not being delivered. Many Canadians would rather have poor service and live under the lie of universal care than embrace reform.
There are obvious ways to fill the gaps. In other sectors, supply inevitably meets demand in the free market and innovators fill market needs.
Why can’t this happen in the health-care sector?
The countries with the best health-care coverage outcomes, such as Switzerland, Germany and Singapore, allow the market to run its course by allowing private care to fill the gaps in health.
But instead of looking to the obvious fix, health-care nationalists poison the well of reform. Fearmongers have made socialized medicine the third rail of Canadian politics.
And because no politician wants to touch it, the bureaucracy maintains healthy control. Death panels and all.