LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Health-care system a privilege that’s easily lost
Read this article for free:
Already have an account? Log in here »
We need your support!
Local journalism needs your support!
As we navigate through unprecedented times, our journalists are working harder than ever to bring you the latest local updates to keep you safe and informed.
Now, more than ever, we need your support.
Starting at $14.99 plus taxes every four weeks you can access your Brandon Sun online and full access to all content as it appears on our website.Subscribe Now
or call circulation directly at (204) 727-0527.
Your pledge helps to ensure we provide the news that matters most to your community!
Not commonly understood or appreciated is that it is the generation that came of age in the 1960s that bequeathed to following generations a pan-Canadian health-care system designed to be universal, portable, accessible and publicly administered.
It’s a system premised on the idea of health being a common good, common to any and all Canadians regardless of status and circumstance, advantageous to an efficient and effective society in all its dimensions, necessarily funded through tax dollars.
Not commonly understood or appreciated is that this system is a privilege, not a right. A privilege we inherited from our parents. A privilege that requires constant attention and support. A privilege manifested through political will and subsequent legislation. A privilege that can as easily be subverted, manipulated or taken away through political will and legislation.
It is commonly accepted that our health-care system is in crisis. It’s a crisis we have come to define, understand in terms of symptoms — staffing, wait times, inaccessibility, lost emergency services, hallway medicine, burn-out, funding, ineffective management and so on and so on.
All real, all consequential. A crisis that we are being convinced to be intractable.
What we are failing to understand is that the fundamental premises upon which a health-care system is structured is being debated, questioning the initial premises of our current system. Health as a common or a private good? Private for-profit delivery by major corporations or public administration? Pan-Canadian or provincial? Fee-for-service or tax dollars? Tax dollars to enhance corporate profits or enhance public delivery of health services? Accessibility without consideration of status or circumstance or financial capacity? Private health insurance or public health insurance?
It’s a debate to which we are not privy. The substance of which we can only intimate or intuit from positions, actions, policies, legislation being implemented by various provinces including Manitoba. Actions which appear destined to undermine the premises and value of our current system.
For us, the question is whether this should be the substance of the debate with respect to our health-care system. Should we be debating the fundamental premises upon which the current system is built? Or should we be debating how the current system can and should be improved?
We have our experiences of interacting with our current health-care system before it reached crisis levels. Cancer care, mental health care, surgeries, births, ailments and emergencies are but a short list of health-care services from which we have benefited, directly or indirectly. Services delivered professionally, empathically and accessed without thought of being turned away because of status or circumstance.
These are privileges that have enriched our lives. These privileges are fragile, dependent upon our collective will. They’re easily lost due to inattention, complacency, not understanding the essence of the current crisis and the direction that our debate is taking us.
ROSEMARIE and CHESTER LETKEMAN