Whenever reporters present documentories on universal healthcare services in Europe or elsewhere they ask three standard questions whose answer in America is an embarrassment. But are the expected answers so reasonable?
Dr. Taylor Dickinson's articles and essays discussing his ideas on tax-preserved Universal healthcare...
The Three Canards
Posted: Tue, Jun 17, 2008By Taylor Dickinson
"Are you happy with your healthcare system?"
This question is asked at random of relatively healthy people. Since they have no obvious need to test the availability of care for serious illness they are indeed happy. But there are increasing signs, as these systems age, that patients with serious illness face roadblocks and outright denial of access to the most efficacious modern treatment. As rationing of services accelerates Supreme Court of Canada:Chaoulli these problems will become more prevalent. But sick patients are always in the minority, so why should their voice count? After all, we all only die once.
Such superficial questions do little to enlighten us, but perhaps they expose the shallow nature of the inquiry.
"Do you ever pay a medical bill?"
This evokes an aire of amused incredulity. Health is a right. It is guaranteed to everyone. Who should have to pay? But why should this seem to be so strange? Receiving healthcare is a matter of life and death. Should we not take some responsibility for our own welfare? If we do not, can we hold anyone else accountable when the care provided falls short of our needs or expectations? Do we have the right to someone elses labour? Can we legitimately accept someone elses learned expertise as our own birthright? It is difficult to rationalize so frivoulous a dismissal of so vital a human exchange. Are we not accountable for our own lives?
"Does anyone go bankrupt as a result of getting healthcare?"
This is the worst canard. A protection from bankruptcy at the price of reasonable access to critical therapies is a fools bargain. But increasingly this is the bargain that is struck. As economic pressures increase, the system seeks to minimize its exposure to more sophisticated modalities of treatment. This seems especially cynical. You will not go bankrupt but there is a ceiling on the value of your life.