At last. We have the best plan ever on health care with the recent report by Dr. John Ross. And the government has accepted all his recommendations to stream patients away from overcrowded emergency rooms through ER reforms, collaborative care clinics and in other ways. But what now?
Here's the skeptical argument first, from my Deep Throat in the system, an ER doctor with many scars from the bad old days of politicized health care. Notably, as a consultant, he was involved in the Alberta reforms of a few years ago -- similar to what's being proposed here -- that now seem to be coming apart because of political bungling.
One thing about our health care system in Nova Scotia: It produces good reports on what to do. It's doing it that's the problem. Now, at the end of a string of studies going back a decade and a half, the one by Dr. John Ross on emergency care nails it once and for all. If nothing happens now, we're really in trouble.
It's been a year and a half since I left off writing about the crucial, politically charged and bureaucratically overwrought subject of health care, awaiting developments with the new government. Recently, I've been looking for signs of where we're at.
News on the Ebola outbreak is often overwhelming. With over 4,000 deaths in West Africa and increasing concern in North America, it is tempting to tune out media coverage -- particularly as coverage spans from the outrageously scare-mongering to the intimidatingly technical. But even as the risk of North Americans contracting Ebola remains very small, other issues in health care have become apparent in its wake. More than any threat of Ebola, the politics of racism, care for uninsured people and hospital underfunding pose great risk to the majority of people across Canada and the U.S.
Related rabble.ca story:
With Ottawa's deficit about to turn into a surplus, we'll soon be able to loosen our belts a bit and fulfill our pent-up dream of splurging on new tanks and fighter planes.
Some Canadians have other priorities, of course -- investing in public health care usually tops the list in polls -- but Stephen Harper's government has already ruled that out.
Here's what Harper is actually planning to do: boost military funding and deeply cut spending on health care. None of this is secret -- although you wouldn't necessarily pick it up from the media.