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Crank up the Machine that goes 'Ping!'

Yet another tall tale from the land of health care. Seriously, there are more than a few logical flaws with this plan.

First of all, it is nearly impossible to settle on any coherent set of 'clinically acceptable waiting times' that can operate universally across the country. It's hard to get a buch of doctors to agree on what to have for lunch, let alone what is the appropriate waiting time for hip or knee surgery, plus, the systems across the country are different. Some are more efficient, some less. Some have more money, others less. The structural aspects of the system are nearly as important as the functional ones. Until we all have identical systems, it's not going to work too well.

Closer to the 'clinical' part of the acceptable waiting times, a diagnosis that determines that, for example, a hip replacement is necessary can have varying levels of severity. You may need it immediately, you may be able to wait a few months while the people worse off than you go first, which is appropriate.

(People who get on the news because they have been waiting for an operation without telling us, contextually, what their situation is relative to the person ahead of them in the queue should be tossed down to the bottom of the list: "Evening News my ass!, Backa the line, Gramma!" Punt!)
(Once again, I digress...)

This is where the decision-making process of arriving at standardized wait times gets complicated: some physicians advocate a purely medical approach, pain/less pain/little pain. You are able to walk, or you are not.
But, some forward-looking and humanistic physicians advocate taking the person's social situation into account. Ok, your hip needs replacing, but your level of deterioration indicates you can wait...except that you are the sole breadwinner in your household, which would make your case more urgent.
See what I mean? Not straightforward by a long shot. Who's right? I'm not knowledgeable enough to say, but I have to say any health system that is able to look after the social and emotional needs of its users is ok by me.

Another thing: Clement insists that the provinces support the idea? Utter, utter crap. When I was in that neck of the woods, ANY kind of care guarantee was anathema, for exactly the reason mentioned: Sweden tried it, and failed. Any social program attempted by Scandinavians that fails should automatically be discarded, stricken from the record, banished, burned and peed on. They are, as many of you will know, the world leaders when it comes to social welfare programs of any kind. If they couldn't do it, nobody can.
The provinces are NOT on board with this, and I'm not just talking about the usual dissenters. Mark my words, it will be New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, P.E.I. or Newfoundland & Labrador that call a halt to this whole idea.
Or, just to fuck with everyone, Saskatchewan. Imagine my surprise to find out they actually have a government, since they haven't made a measurable contribution in years (except for 'Corner Gas').

It is unrealistic, and they know it - they expect not to have to fulfil this promise, since they expect the election to happen before anyone calls them on it. They can paint as rosy a picture with as uncertain a timeline as they like, 'cause it ain't gonna happen.

I think Mr. C. may be testing the medical marajuana.

You should read the works of John Rolston Saul. I attended a lecture he gave tonight and he was talking about this very topic. He is full of piss n' vinegar and any NDP'er should listen to this guy because he makes a lot of sense and is very inspiring. I actually had a chance to talk with him after and he was basically telling us that we have a lot of opportunities to be strategic about calling Harper and his Cons out on all of their bullshit schemes they have, all we have to do is get out there and do it.

Excellent post. I meant to comment last night on it but didn't get the chance. I hadn't actually considered the inherent difficulty in making such wait time guarantees before.

I have two questions for you that are related but not related. First, I understand that the health care costs used to be split 50/50 between the federal and provincial governments. I believe that is down to something on the order of 15/85 now, but could be wrong. How much would it cost the feds to get back to that 50%?

And second, do you know what percentage of the health care budget goes to drugs?

I see the birth of another post or two...

KIDYMD: I've seen JRS speak, and you're right, he's always fascinating. I know Kevvyd agrees his books are good, too.

Kevvyd: I know it should be a lot, but cetrainly not as much as it would take to drug us all into a state where we wouldn't question them. Although they may think it's worth it. Leave this with me, I'll be back soon with a followup.

Is JRS beginning to get openly political? I really, really hope so.

Well he was political before - I think he just stopped while his wife was Governor-General, a decision I agreed with.

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