Friday, August 28, 2009

Health Care Stories: Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada

Wolfvillewatch thinks we Americans should tread lightly before we think about going with a public healthcare plan.

If you want my opinion off the top of my head I would go with a good, affordable insurance (either private- or government-managed) system rather than a completely government-run system. Once you have a government system, if you don't like it, you will be stuck with it. Singapore, I believe, has a mixed system; everyone has to pay into their own medical account that they draw upon when needed, but there is also some subsidised care. This seems a sensible plan to me, which hasn't been talked about much. This kind of system would be easier to tweak/fix until it fit people's needs well.

Here in Canada everyone knows our system needs reform, but no one dares dismantle what we have. Soon, however, it will become unsustainable; our demographics are already straining the system as there are fewer young taxpayers and more and more (longer-lived) elders drawing on the system. Once governments are involved, they have an interest in directing lifestyles to control costs. Instead of individual responsibility and choice, you will get the government telling you first not to smoke and then not to eat the wrong food and then not to drink. A system which has a measure of user pay makes everyone at least partially responsible for their own lifestyles. If they have ill health because of actions they take, they have at least some cost to themselves.

Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada

Check out the blog, Wolfville Watch.


Alisande said...

The federal government doesn't tell us not to smoke or drink or what to eat. It gives us advice about choices and consequences through media campaigns.

The doctors give us the same advice, but they do TELL us not to smoke.

I've never been told not to drink by the feds, only to do so responsibly.

Most states in the U.S. already have tough restrictions on where a person may or may not smoke or drink which is no different that in Canada. It's not federal governments controlling this.

The federal government does have the final say on health care.

But Wolfvillewatch, can you tell the secret to getting a family doctor in this valley?

Oemissions said...

We probably have a shortage of doctors, especially in some rural areas: however, I think that the shortage is mostly because fewer young people are choosing that as a career.
As a low income person, I have always been able to see a doctor, had 2 caesarians at no expense to me.
I am forever grateful to Tommy Douglas, a "socialist" who saw what was needed in the 1950s and
along with others acted upon this need.
WE Canadians elected him as "OUR GREATEST CANADIAN"!

ww said...

@Alisande - Sorry can't help you about getting a Dr. in the Valley. Know that can be a problem especially for young people who have been "disconnected" from their families which may have had a family Dr. where they lived and therefore and "in". Our children in another province have the same problem. BTW we are amazed at the reports which refer to the Canadian Health Care system. Perhaps Canadians who don't move much aren't aware but systems vary quite a bit across Canada. health is a provincial responsibility and benefits (what is covered)vary quite a lot from province to province. And if you are a student in province different from where you live - well don't forget to let your own system know or otherwise you might not be covered as there are residence requirements.

ww said...

Some info on what is happening in France:

At the end of 2008, nurses lost their freedom to practice where they please, while a new law will do the same for physicians by imposing an annual financial penalty if they refuse to practice where the government tells them to. Specialists’ fees are increasingly regulated. The last pillars of competition among providers, and choice for French patients, are thus undermined.