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Canada’s Top Doc on Problems with Their System

John on August 17, 2009 at 1:06 pm

You just can’t make this stuff up. The incoming head of the Canadian Medical Association is Dr. Anne Doig. She had this to say about the Canadian “Medicare” system in today’s Globe and Mail:

“Canada’s doctors are not opposed to medicare, [and neither of my predecessors was opposed to medicare by the way.] We don’t want a health system where people can be beggared, crippled and bankrupted by medical expenses. That is anathema to Canadian physicians.

But we can’t just sit back and smugly say we have the best health system in the world while our system is crumbling around us,” Dr. Doig said.

Dr. Doig also gave an interview to Canadian Medicine News in which she said a number of interesting things. Have a look at this question and answer regarding public vs. private scare tactics:

[Q:] You have mentioned more than once, I believe, that you’d like to de-emphasize the public-vs-private aspect of the health reform question.

[A:] It’s a surrogate for scaring patients, you know? I mean, let’s tell people [sarcastically] their healthcare is being threatened because the doctors are bad people and want to bring in the private sector. That’s simply a scare tactic. We have to engage the public to say, “Look, folks, here are the real costs, here is the real situation. You want your care. How do you want it paid for?” And of course the cop-out answer is “I always want it free and I don’t want to pay anything.” Sorry! We all know that’s not sustainable. And we all know that models in other countries – wherever we’re looking at things where there’s a single route, then those models are failing.

In other words, it’s irresponsible to demonize the private sector while at the same time selling people on an unrealistic and unsustainable alternative, e.g. free govenrment health care. Good thing no one is trying that here.

The interviewer then tries to bait Dr. Doig into bashing ObamaCare protesters in the US, but doesn’t get what she was looking for:

[Q:] There have been all sorts of accusations from US groups recently about what is wrong with Canada’s model or how we’re rationing care for the elderly, etc.

[A:] Well, I have to tell you parenthetically that one of the things that the CMA wants to see improved is the availability and provision of care for those who require longterm care. We are acutely aware that the provision of longterm care is inadequate in Canada. So part of my point is it really irritates me when inflammatory rhetoric is used instead of people being able to engage in debate. There is a problem in longterm care in this country. People need to wake up and smell that coffee, and the CMA is certainly not going to be shy in giving that message to the public. However, what this whole US thing says to me is, you know, it’s the two-headed hydra. The physicians in each country are looking at the systems and saying, “You guys, the system is about to implode. It’s going to fail.” And the US guys are saying, “Oh, my god, we don’t want Canada.” And Canadians are saying, “We don’t want the US.” Okay. Both of us need to sit down, each in our own jurisdictions, and come up with something that works for our citizens and for our doctors, and go forward. I mean, I think one thing that the US finger-pointing has done is it’s made some Canadians who were complacent – you know, they were content to sit back and think, “Oh yeah, I’ve got the best healthcare system in the world” — maybe they’re realizing that, oh, maybe it isn’t. And people who individually have experienced things that are not quite right, people who have experienced long waits, people who have been sent home with services — they may have thought they were individuals and something bad happened to them but, overall, the system is good. Maybe some of those people are now beginning to realize the problems are far more systemic than they thought.

I wonder if Michael Moore is willing to explain to Dr. Doig why she’s wrong.

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