There has been much said and written about the request/need for the federal government to transfer more of my tax dollars to the provinces to assist in paying for medical coverage.
Before that should be considered there are a few other items that need fixing at both the provincial and federal levels:
1. A Canadian travelling within Canada and covered by Medicare in the province of residence should have equal access to medical services anywhere in Canada.
a. A recent poor example is a fall experienced by a man from Quebec someplace in B.C. denied surgical care for his injury because he was from Quebec. Then a week later, and in much pain, he was treated. That should never happen to anyone.
b. I need to buy private medical travel insurance to cover expenses that I may incur within Canada when on vacation. Why? If I had the same need as a result of an accident anywhere in B.C, where I live, I would be fully covered. If it happens in Ontario I need to pay, submit a claim and hope to get some part of the bill paid. That is not correct, why should I have to have private emergency medical travel insurance within Canada?
2. We have critical shortages of medical staff – nurses, doctors of all types; yet a professional who immigrates from another country is driving a taxi and not allowed to practise even after passing exams in Canada.
Fix the shortage by allowing qualified individuals who have completed full training and have been practising in another country to immediately start practice in Canada. Qualifications in doubt – team the person with another professional until satisfied of competency.
3. Simplify billing practices, cut administrative costs.
4. Establish Canadian standards as to what medical services will be paid for by the public purse, what will not be, and what may be paid by individuals or their private insurance providers. Technological advances may be great and life-saving but there isa limit as to what the public can afford to provide.
Fix these things, then discuss how the Canadian Medicare system can best be paid for.
Terence Peel, Surrey