In related news, next week is Freedom to Read Week

Earlier, we told you Health Minister George Abbott pooh-poohed claims the premier's European mystery health tour travelling companion Les Vertesi was an advocate for parallel private healthcare. This, despite admitting he was "not an expert" on the emergency room specialist's work. In that same scrum, Minister Abbot also said he hadn't read Dr. Vertesi's self-published book Broken Promises. And that's a pity. Because if he had, Minister Abbot would know Dr. Vertesi supports introducing market forces in the public healthcare system. But "until such time as a mature internal market exists, a healthy private industry that parallels the public one and can contract with it to provide services would force both sides to work in the same competitive environment."

As a result, Dr. Vertesi writes parallel private healthcare is "much more than a way to decant the waiting lists. It is quite simply the only 'reality check' available to tell public hospitals whether the quality of service they provide and the price at which they provide it meet acceptable standards, both to the public and the workers within the industry." Earlier in the day, Minister Abbott also said he had not read Dr. Vertesi's testimony before the standing senate committee on social affairs, science and technology, in which he supported the notion of just such a system.

9 Comments

So what's the big controversy, Sean? This system is already taking shape in B.C. The old monopoly is in crisis. Vertesi is right, even if it offends 1960s-era NDP mythology. The project here is to implement Vertesi's "notion," not to engage in a fake debate on the merits of the only option we have.

The Premier is playing with fire here. If there are any swift and obvious moves to comprimise the idea of equal and publically delivered healthcare, I can forsee a protracted campaign of civil disobedience and direct action in this province with widespread popular support. The Premier would be advised to tread with more guile and stealth if he wants to hand our system to US corporate interests.

Mr. Savory--

Which part of the following bait and switch-laden quote from Dr. Vertesi did you not understand, exactly:

"until such time as a mature internal market exists, a healthy private industry that parallels the public one and can contract with it to provide services would force both sides to work in the same competitive environment."

To my eyes this reads like a homegrown version of neoStraussianism running roughshod over the public trust.

Specifically, nowhere in the throne speech or in any of the Ministerial and/or Premiersterial, post speech flack-hackery were we told a single thing about a 'project' to develop 'mature internal markets'. In fact, the outfront 'for the public' spin has been exactly the opposite; we have been told over and over and over again that this is really about sustainability of that quaint 1960's (and 70's and 80's and 90's and 00's) mythology....errrr....public system that you mentioned.

And therein, I respectfully suggest, lies the controversy.

Read the Romanow report, Mr Savory. Vertesi & co had every opportunity to pitch their case. It was overwhelmingly rejected by *Canadians*, not the NDP. Campbell is a lot dumber than I thought if he thinks he can pull this off, but we'll be happy to send him packing with his buddy Emerson.

And if you all find Canadian values so infuriating, no one's stopping you from leaving. There are dozens of third world countries out there with far more pleasant climates, where health care, along with government and every other business, is the free-for-all that you yearn for.

Well said Name. John- maybe you should move to Bangladesh- they have a great two-tier private health care system, education system, and practically no government involvement in anything. Fill your boots.

There is a place for the market in the provision of publicly provided goods, but this should be confined to only those goods that are private in nature. Thus, there is a good case to introduce road tolls, marginal cost pricing of electricity and water and other such goods. Only those people who use such goods benefit from it, and so they should pay. Health care is different. It provides benefits all across society- even those who do not use it benefit from having healthy people around. This is just basic economics of course, not NDP mythology.

Water? "Only those people who use such goods benefit from it, and so they should pay..." writes Cole.

Surely you jest, sir. Every man, woman, child, dog, cat, cow, monkey, even Gordon Campbell and David Emerson require water every day to sustain life. Water isn't coke or pepsi.

Please tell me that was a slip of your pen ... a typo ... and that you do not see "a good case" to treat water as a private commodity which, under NAFTA, would mean that we in Canada can lose jurisdiction over Canadian water after the first commercial sale.

Ah, yes, the Romanow report. What Canada's health care system needs is more "solidarity" and more money. It's got the money, and Romanow went from one union meeting to another across this great Dominion.

Thanks for the invitation to leave, but I think I'll stick around and see if things can be salvaged here.

And hey, neoStraussianism is so last year. Gordo's into subsidiarity now, haven't you heard?

The amount of money we spend on socialist medicare will continue yo rise until we can't take it anymore. I guess if you are middle aged or old, you really are only interested in making sure you are covered. Screw anyone else.
The upcoming workers won't be very enthusiastic about 66% of the budget going toward health care.
Get real about this. Things ARE going to change towards a private/public system.
There is no more appetite for this expensive safety net. Get your own climbing equipment.

No Pie-in-the-sky, nothing that radical. I am just talking about metering water use so that you pay based on how much you use. Currently most regional districts charge a flat rate for water use. I am saying this use be metered and people be charged accordingly. It is still provided publicly but priced as if it were a private good. That way all the wealthy homeowners in West Van who use the most water on their fancy landscaped lawns would actually pay accordingly.

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