Wednesday, September 15, 2004

WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH HEALTH CARE?

Seriously. Because I don't know.

Over the last several years and particularly in the past two weeks I have read dozens of arguments about the health-care system. From Romanow to Kirby to journalists and academics, I've heard the following things, and more, about the Canadian health-care system:

There should be more privatization.
There should be less privatization.
There is enough privatization.
There aren't enough doctors.
There aren't enough nurses.
Doctors and nurses aren't the problem.
The high cost of drugs is the problem.
The high cost of drugs is not the problem.
Waiting lists are too long.
No, waiting *times* are too long.
We need national standards.
We need to let each province do its own thing.
The system needs more funding.
The problems are Ottawa's fault.
The problems are the province's fault.
Health-care is un-sustainable.
The problems are actaully more a matter of perception.

This is not to mention all of the numbers bandied about regarding how much money is spent on health care: Total dollars spent, as a percentage of GDP, relative to ten years ago, twenty years ago, relative to other jurisdictions, the percentage paid by Ottawa, the percentage paid by the provinces, the percentage paid from private sources. And, all of these numbers change depending on whose numbers are used.

Almost all of the things I have read have seemed well argued, well reasoned, and at one time or another I have been persuaded by all of them. The result is that I have no idea what the problems with health care are, if there even are that many problems, and if so, how they might be solved. The system seems simply too big and complex.

I have no idea what arguments should determine our health-care policy, so I really hope that the premiers and the PM do.

Posted by Matthew @ 1:47 AM