LETTER- O’Toole plays coy on socialized medicine

Erin O’Toole keeps telling us he supports universal health care for all Canadians, but at the same time  he says he is going to give the provinces a set amount of money for health care with no strings attached as to how it will be spent.

When reporters ask if this will allow the provinces to bring in more private for profit health care which we can access by paying, he talks all around the question and never says yes or no. Saskatchewan already allows patients to pay and get an MRI earlier.

They claim it shortens wait times.

Yes, it does if you have the money to pay. For those who do not have the money to pay, you can be sure they will wait longer because all those who can pay will be ahead of them in he line. We lived in the UK for a prolonged period where they have the NHS  (comparable to our OHIP) and a parallel system where one can pay for services.

A woman with whom we became friends needed a knee replacement. She had to use the NHS because she could not afford to go the private route. She waited a year and a half to see the orthopedic surgeon for an assessment and then she went on the waiting list for the surgery. About a year and a half later she got the surgery. However because she had waited so long, she never walked again without the aid of a walker.

The sad part of the story is that had she been able to go the private route, she would have seen the same surgeon and the assessment and surgery would all have happened within about three months. Is this the style of health care we want here?

Should your cancer treatment, cataract surgery, joint replacement or bypass surgery be delayed because someone with the financial means is allowed to pay and get their treatment first?

If doctors are allowed to practice in both systems, will they devote most of their time to the private system because they can charge more for their services?

If doctors have to practice in one system only, will we find a bigger shortage of doctors in the public system because they will naturally go to where they can make more money?

Something to think about. H. & J. Tremeer Belleville