The Fifth Town Hall on Canadian Medicare: One of These Things Is Not Like the Others
The Canadian Medical Association partnered with L’actualité magazine to host a town hall discussing the future of Medicare on June 2, 2011, in La Prairie, Quebec. Panelists included the heads of the Quebec Medical Association, the Quebec Federation of Senior Citizens (FADOQ), the Council for the Protection of Patients, and the Priority Cancer Coalition.
Some of the same themes from previous town halls emerged at this one, including a call for government to provide more long-term care, home care, and pharmacare. However, when it came time for comments from the audience there were a few things said that I had not heard at the other town halls. A man at the microphone telling us about paying for a surgery and receiving it the next day rather than waiting on a list for a year in the public health care system. A woman suggesting that the Canada Health Act be modernized and people start saving money for private care so they can be treated quickly. Other women and men expressing their disbelief that we are getting value for money in public health care.
Our senior citizens, often the staunchest defenders of government-run health care, are beginning to really question Medicare and with good reason. For behind its false sense of security lies a stark reality – when it comes to cutting costs in government health care the knife is more likely to fall closest to those nearing the end of their lives.
It’s time for old and young alike to embrace a new health care system. The first step to overcoming the fears that tether us to Medicare is to look not at its intentions but at its results.