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doreen barrie on the politics of health care: confusing the public.

Why is health care political? How literate are Canadians about the system? What strategies are in use to influence public opinion? Are there solutions to be found elsewhere? These were the topics focused on by University of Calgary Professor Doreen Barrie at that University’s recent Health Care Forum.

Dr. Barrie used her presentation to deconstructed many of the myths, half-truths, and political tactics being used by groups like the Frontier Centre and the Wildrose Alliance, which promote vaguely-described “European-models” of health care as their solution to the challenges facing Canada’s public health system.

See the slideshow.

11 replies on “doreen barrie on the politics of health care: confusing the public.”

One of Dr. Barrie’s questions was about whether Canadians would be willing to adopt (or adapt) one of the European models, and whether in particular we would have equally stringent controls over any private-sector competition as are found in Germany. I would suggest that even if we decided as a country to do so, we would be likely to run into NAFTA trouble and find those controls lifted by the courts upon legal action by major American health care multi-nationals. This is at least part of the rationale behind many centre-left & left-wing activists’ strong objections to the expansion of private-for-profit competition into our public health care system: the NAFTA-driven slippery slope argument that once you allow competition into the system, you lose all ability to control it.

As long as there is protection and coverage for those who are unable to take care of themselves then private health care can do nothing but improve our system. It’s embarassing to me that I can take my cat to a veterinarian of my choosing but I can’t do the same for my own daughter. This is wrong and I hope it changes soon.

Unless there was much more to this presentation, I don’t see how it “deconstructs” much of anything. If I were to summarize the presentation from what I picked up, it would be that Dr. Barrie’s position supports exactly what the Wildrose are proposing. The evidence of this position is from the data presented on how the UK and Germany offer health care. There is clearly a private component to both of their delivery systems which appears to strengthen both systems overall. It should also be noted both the UK and Germany offer considerably more benefits to participants in their systems.

@calmdown, private healthcare only improves accessiblity for those that can afford it, that being the rich. The rest of the public have to fight over what docs are left over, while many flee to private to cherry pick lucrative work and some opt in and out of public/ private and double billing schemes and mint cash.

Private healthcare is a dog and pony show. The U.S spends $7,000/ person, while Canada spends $3500/ person and for all of that private healthcare, they are far less healtheir and definintely much poorer, just to have accessiblity to healthcare that may not cover many financially ruining health situations.

HMO’s keep doctors hostage by denying billing and keep the patient hostage by not providing coverage, when they need it most. HMO’s primary need is profit, by denying coverage.

Private healthcare makes insurance companies and some Dr. rich, keeping in mind that private healthcare docs spend 30% of the money and time in court, defending themselves in lawsuits, and that is just a part of regular business down there.

Some of the worst healthcare class action lawsuits have risen out of haphazard profit driven healthcare, that puts profits before people.

Simply put, privately supplied and provided healthcare does not work. It makes the docs and healthcare companies rich and leaves people stuck in the middle, staring at a very large middle finger and an empty wallet.

Private healthcare insurance would have to be also provided by Corporations here in canada and that will severly cut into their profits. The best is a publically run system, that is run like a business, with legislated accountability measures across the board for administrators, hospital executives and all of those that make decisions.

Dave, this is brutal. Thanks for wasting 25 minutes of my time. All she said was that Britain and Germany already have better systems than us (with a private element) but they are reforming anyway. Was she implying that we should stick with the status quo even though we trail everyone else? Because reforms are tricky, and just because something works elsewhere doesn’t mean it will work here? And what was that bit at the end – bring back health care premiums? Wow, thanks professor.
Bill Bewick, Ph.D.

Wow, so only rich people benefit under private health care? Just like only rich people benefit from air travel, movie theatres and home buying right? Your argument falls flat.

I’m not saying reward the rich, i’m saying if someone has the ability to pay for medical treatment they should be allowed to do it in this country. 20,000 Canadians left our country last year alone to purchase medical services somewhere else,don’t you think that revenue could be better spent in Canada? I sure do. I will not wait on a wait list, if my family needs medical help they will get it. If that is rewarding the rich then you need to give your head a shake.

It’s about fairnss. Healthcare does not succeed because everyone is treated the same. That is a fallacy. This country has it backwards and we need to grow up.

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees put together a short documentary with a comedy twist on the tactics used by Government to influence public opinion to be in favor of privatization. The videos follow Dr. Barrie’s lecture very well but uses Alberta examples to illustrate what Dr. Barrie is talking about:

Pt 1 of 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrvQjh8UTFA

Pt 2 of 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyTlQFSORAI

Pt 3 of 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXnVgaYiDxk

@AUPE local 6,

AUPE member turnout was dissappointingly low at the recent healthcare rally at the Leg. As a strong and large Union, I would have expected a more stronger voice by the collective bargainers, on behalf the taxpayers, who pay their wages. Let’s have the collective bargainers organize a little better and be willing to take a stronger stand on behalf of their bosses, the paying public, it would do great for optics, as well as democracy.

If the PC’s are this bad on health care, I can only imagine what the Wildrose policy of just giving money to local hospitals would do. Ridiculous!

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