Tuesday, September 12, 2006

George's Cathartic Day - With Great Updates!

I sure hope Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman feels better after discharging all that hot air yesterday. It probably didn't do the environment much good though.

Let's see now. First he took a swipe at the incoming CMA president-elect, Dr. Brian Day, who won't even be taking over until August 2007. Dr. Day's sin apparently, is that he the co-founder and owner of the private Cambie Surgery Centre in Vancouver. (Source: Record, National Post).

Then I guess he had the audacity to allow himself to be elected President of the Canadian Medical Association! So George was blustering about that, and all the predicable innuendos about the implied threat to Canada's sacred medicare system. The Globe reports:

Dr. Day, an orthopedic surgeon, is an outspoken advocate of expanding the role of private for-profit clinics in Canada to cure the system's perceived ills, particularly surgical waiting times.

However the Post notes,

Dr. Colin McMillan, the CMA's current president, dismissed the Minister's remarks as "rhetorical and partisan" and suggested Mr. Smitherman should be "working with doctors for the benefit of patients" instead of trying to paint physicians as a threat to the health care system.

Smitherman also castigated Federal Health Minister Tony Clement, the federal Conservative government, and the provinces of B.C., Quebec and Alberta as being part of this conspiracy to undermine the public health system.

The Post article goes on:

"Conservative MPP Elizabeth Witmer accused Mr. Smitherman of being hypocritical, noting the Liberals cancelled public health insurance coverage for most eye examinations so that Ontarians must now pay for the examinations themselves.

"He's testing out some themes for the 2007 election campaign to see what's going to have resonance with the media, with the public," she said.

"You're either 'wid us' or 'agin us", George has warned us all.

Put me on the "agin" side, please; at least regarding the next election.

* * * *

Update: Background on Cambie - H/T to Daristotle. Always grateful for readers' tips!

Oh, and I wish I had thought of this title - Furious George and the Mindless Election Rhetoric. Good stuff, Mike! Way to expose Ontario's monkey business; and all the way from Nova Scotia!

OHC agrees with Smitherman, BUT...

Wednesday Update: Please read this editorial in the National Post! It appears to be accessible without a subscription.

It is bad enough that Mr. Smitherman refuses to adopt a more open-minded approach toward private care, which would reduce wait times by alleviating the burden on the public system while compelling it to provide Ontarians with better service. It is even worse that he is willing to alienate doctors in search of a few extra votes.

So, now the Ontario Health Minister has been 'outed' from coast to coast in a national newspaper. Get ready for another tantrum.

Update: These guys must be really worried about the by-election! Check this out! And this!


PGP said...

Good thing the ROC does not depend on Smitherman in any way shape or form.

Now we need to get some movement out of these Manitoba Dippers..either to help get some new clinincs up and running or to get the hell out of the way so we can do with the PC's and private enterprise!

vicki said...

Joanne...if you were a nurse an 'enema' joke would be apppropriate right now!...or how about what kind of drugs is George on? Laxatives of course!
Could we here more from the wise Dr. Macmillan any time soon?

vicki said...

I hate when I see my spelling mistake after I post!!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Vicki, no worries about the spelling. Only JDave pays attention to that. :)

liberal supporter said...

I followed the Cambie link, I could not find anywhere a mention of prices, or whether it is covered by OHIP (whatever they call it in BC).

I guess if I have to ask, I can't afford it.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

lol! L.S., I'm pretty sure that it's a private clinic; which was George's beef.

Daristotle said...

The real reason George doesn't want private health care is that it will make it painfully obvious how bad the medicare system is. For an article on the Cambie Center and an interview with the dangefous Dr. Day go to www.readersdigest.ca/mag/2002/12/choose.html

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Awesome! Thanks, Daristotle!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Wow, there is a lot of information in that article.

It answers L.S.'s question about the funding:
"The surprising element of Day’s prescription lies in the funding. He and others like him would deliver the services—but the government would still pay for most of them..."

Interesting that B.C. residents are not allowed to use it by law, but anyone else is:

"If the officer were a regular guy from another country, or even another Canadian province or territory, he could book a surgery at Cambie with no problem. But if he were an ordinary B.C. resident with a bad hip who tried to get treatment, he’d be refused. And if for some reason Day relented and did the surgery, he’d be breaking the law."

“Canadians don’t realize it,” says Day, “but the current health system is actually infringing on their rights.”

"Cambie can operate more efficiently and inexpensively than big, all-purpose hospitals. Indeed, Day claims he can do most surgeries for a little more than half of what it costs public hospitals to do the same procedures."

Very interesting. You are right, Daristotle. Smitherman is afraid of being found out.

Sara said...

we are using private health care right now. Ontario residents pay more than others. We are charged an extra amount every year because the health system cannot stay afloat. We pay more than the other guy (provincially), wouldn't that make it private?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

PGP - ROC? Sorry, not sure what that refers to.

liberal supporter said...

I think ROC is "Rest Of Canada". Usually used by Quebec separatists, and when heard there, the response is "you mean the Most Of Canada"

Joanne (True Blue) said...

L.S. - lol! Thanks. Learn something new every day. ;)

I thought it was some national medical organization or something. (D'oh!)

liberal supporter said...

I thought so too, until he mentioned Manitoba, so George would have no effect there (remember the prevailing winds go the other way from Ontario), and it rang a bell.

But then when I first saw the title, I thought it was "George's Catholic Day", and I wondered which George that could be? The only one I could think of was George Carlin who used to joke about his own upbringing as the class clown, always getting in trouble and having his ear bent by the nuns...

Anonymous said...

I work in health care...we should be examining 'why' the high cost. My simple theory is: because with government funding you can charge top dollar ...the bucket is never empty. I do not blame the nurse's and doctors that are on the front lines. It is suppliers and behind the scene admin that push costs to the sky.When my daughter was 'overseas' she ended up requiring treatment for dehydration and loss of conciousness:
visit from a doctor to the home,
2 bags of IV solution, and meds, and a nurse to keep an eye on her for a few hours. She had to pay out of her pocket...grand total $15.00(Can) One example of 'private health care'...no politicians involved!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

L.S. - Too funny!!!

Anon - Very interesting. I personally think that there is a big union lobby behind all of this. Just speculation of course. ;)

PGP said...

Re: The OHC...Just who exactly do they represent? An why are they being quoted/promoted in the news feeds?

Rhetorical question: Why do people keep assuming that the public blames Doctors or Nurses for Health Care problems?

The public by and large blames ( rightly so ) governments that fail to control the bureaucracies of the publicly funded systems.

It's the politicians and the bureaucrats who are screwing things up!

Gee....what a surprise and where have I heard that before?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

PGP - From Star article

"...Natalie Mehra, director of the Ontario Health Coalition, a think-tank made up of 300 organizations including unions, women’s and senior’s groups..."

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Mmmm... Seems to be a link to Status of Women...

From Wiki

How very interesting.

PGP said...

What's that old saying about turning over stones?

PGP said...

My experience with private sector clinics in Canada is that they have to charge the rates that are set for public services. Although rates and rules vary from province to province.

Also, clinics may charge less than the standard rate and often do for un-insured clients. Insurers get the full rate billed for services provided to those using their plans.

This works for people who go to another province for services as well, when they are covered by their home provnce plan.

If you want to know the rate for a specific procedure or service call..they will tell you.

Zac said...

Worried? I'm not worried. I already know the outcome. The NDP has this one in the bag. To be worried you must have hope.

Watson is a horrible candidate and the NDP have a lunatic on their hands too. The PC candidate is the best there is. Too bad he doesn't have a hope of winning.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Zac, I didn't mean that you were worried; I was referring to McGuinty and crew.

This is a sad, pathetic by-election.

Zac said...

At least its been interesting...unlike the last batch.

Anonymous said...

Yes...you are right about the unions too.
The public (not in health care) will blame the dr's and nurse's based on politicians comments.(like Smithers)

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Anon, I think the public is becoming a bit wiser on that score. (I hope).