Thursday, October 21, 2010

Studied to Death

"There's nothing new here," said Romanow. "If this task force ever gets going, it's an exercise in rehashing issues that have been studied thoroughly. It's been studied to death by academics and others."
Romanow said he's not worried that some people, such as Mulroney, are talking about the need for a thorough review of medicare. This "pops up about every 10 years or so. You can't escape this debate, and you should welcome this debate."
But he added that it's critical to remember that if there is another review, it should revolve around a single, fundamental question.
"Essentially, this is a values-of-Canada debate. Namely, is health care a social good which is to be provided through the common wealth of governments — federal/provincial — in order to make sure everybody is covered? Or is it going to take on more and more the concept of not a common good but an individual responsibility? That means user fees and more privatization."
Of course elite privatization proponents keep calling for more studies.; the dozen or so that have already been done that weren't blatantly stacked with Tory insiders and/or insurance company executives like the Mazankowski or Kirby reports keep coming to the same conclusions. That any more erosion of the wholly public model would be more expensive and less equitable.  That a lot of the most popular private schemes that have been foisted on the system like P3s or private clinics contracted to perform public procedures have turned into expensive boondoggles. That in fact, the best long term cost savings plans would be to expand rather than retract public healthcare, for example through pharmacare and major expansions of long term care.

These aren't the results that market worshiping politicians, neo-liberal media figures or private clinic chain entrepreneurs want, therefore we need more studies until we get the results they do want.  Results that will let them manufacture the consent they need to override the public's unflinching support for publicly funded, publicly delivered health-care and dismiss the idea that medicine is a public good rather than a profit generating private cash cow.

Remember, we aren't being 'mature and reasonable' or willing to 'take a tough honest look at the debate' unless we first accept their terms of discussion and concede that we should allow more privatization.  A sleazy rhetorical trick that gets trotted out daily.

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