Apr. 18, 2021

Our health care system is a total mess

Some reasons for our state of high anxiety over the COVID-19 threat are a lack of political leadership and too many players in the field, some hidden and others with political power agendas.

No one considers the role of the pharmaceutical giants. Providing vaccines is a multi-billion-dollar business. Successful producers stand to make enormous profits. The stakes are very high. The costs of developing vaccines are enormous. Keeping us afraid of infection works to their benefit.

It is no surprise that some brands have been found to have adverse side effects. All COVID-19 vaccines are experimental and are approved on an emergency basis. The risks may be minimal or even negligible, but the public is wary of trading the risk of coronavirus infection for the risk of vaccine side effects. We seek certainty in an uncertain environment.

We have squadrons of experts expressing opinions. They include various specialists in infectious diseases and virology. Most are professionals, but those interviewed in the media have bought into the lockdown and isolation solution for containing coronavirus.

Therein lies another problem. Some medical experts disagree with the mainstream narrative and have taken to social media to express their views. The result is that we are bombarded with conflicting opinions on every aspect of the coronavirus threat, including vaccines.

The lack of political leadership is disgraceful. Declaring an emergency and issuing regulations that interfere with every aspect of our lives, including our right to earn an income to care for ourselves and our families, is not leadership. Leadership requires explaining why there are no alternatives to those regulations and why the regulations have not kept coronavirus infections in check a full year later.

Then there are the medical professionals who have endured broken health care systems for decades. There is never money to hire enough medical professionals to meet our needs. We suffer shortages of doctors, nurses and support specialists.

Nurses were suffering burnout long before coronavirus appeared. People could not find a family doctor. We have long waiting lists for everything from cataract surgery to knee and hip replacements.

We have the facilities but not the trained personnel to use them for even 16 hours a day. We could add another shift to shorten waiting lists, but not without hiring many more people and incurring substantial costs. Our health care systems were on the verge of collapse before coronavirus.

Medical professionals and politicians are looking at coronavirus as an excuse to ramp up health care spending, but everyone involved wants someone else to foot the bill. We have suffered this nonsense for at least 50 years.

Everyone involved wants to have their fingers on the levers of power while avoiding responsibility for the outcome.
Control over money equals political power.

That is why our alleged universal health care system consists of dozens of competing sub-systems that are unco-ordinated. The coronavirus numbers produced by the media are a work of fiction. Each health care sub-set within a province has a different way of tracking COVID infections and results.

There is no central health care database where health care providers can enter information. Health care sub-sets report data to a provincial health care agency which sends the data to Health Canada by e-mail or fax. Our health care tracking systems are still in the days when steam engines ruled.

Health care is the largest single expenditure in a provincial budget. No premier will co-operate with their peers to improve the system because they may lose political power or risk having federal support curtailed.

Political power carries with it equal responsibility. Provinces need to get together, co-ordinate, and build an efficient, effective, and integrated system to serve us better.

The federal government must get out of provincial health care, transfer tax points to the provinces, and focus on providing health care for those for which it is constitutionally responsible. That includes indigenous people, federal prison inmates, military personnel, CSIS, the RCMP and diplomatic personnel. Those are not provincial responsibilities.

Politicians need to get their heads out of the clouds and join the general population they are in office to serve. Politicians who prefer to rule us instead of serving us need to seek out a third-world nation in need of their services.