Monday, October 22, 2007

Irony isn't dead

I haven't bothered to respond to any of the Fraser Institutes PR efforts on behalf of the Insurance and Pharmaceutical industries of late because there seems little point. Few aside from an ideological hard core even seem to pay attention to them any more and most of their wacky pronouncements on Canadian health care for example seem intended mostly to provide fodder for American right wingers fighting the increasingly desperate and hopeless battle against an increasingly inevitable universal system there.

Canadians, The National Post's dwindling subscriber base aside, simply aren't buying.

But the spat between Nadeem Esmail, who's in charge of the Fraser Institute's health care distortions and Health Minister Tony Clement calls for comment, if only because I really don't trust a Conservative Minister to defend public care, and because the National Pest appears to have made only Esmail's side of the fight available.

The right has jumped on wait times as their new health care bugaboo in their long war against the public system. Of course many of the wait time problems facing Canada stem from policy decisions by right wing politicians in the first place. Remember fifteen years ago when the big scare was that we would have too many doctors leading to policy steps being taken to reduce medical school class sizes? Seems like a lifetime ago, but we're still paying for these kind of panicky reactionary steps.

But trusting right wing numbers on wait times requires a certain amount of breathless naiveté. Esmail angrily defends the paltry 26% of ideologically self selecting responses from doctors to the Fraser Institutes's wait times study as 'not a small or unreliable sample'.

It is of course virtually the platonic ideal of a small and unreliable sample. Denying that fact in a loud clear voice doesn't change it. He also decries 'rhetoric and misleading information'. I know, hard to believe the ballsiness; rhetoric and misleading information are the Fraser Institutes bread and butter. Hence the title of this post.

Wait time lists are neither as large nor as wide spread
as the right tries to paint them, were largely the result of right wing funding decisions to begin with and have been dropping over the last few years.

And it's public sector solutions that are making them drop while across the border, the US utopia of private care faces wait times just as high or higher, with the added 'benefit' of double the cost per capita for their health care non-system that leaves millions with no coverage at all. Wait times are as bad or worse in the US, so moving towards American style private care would make matters worse.

Once the wait times bugaboo loses it's power, wait for the free market ideologues at the Fraser Institute to find some other avenue to battle public health care. Just don't make the mistake of thinking they actually care.

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