28 May 2010

Myths about money and health: who should pay for health-care, and who should be getting it

Revised June 2012

The article I have based this blog comment on is this, from the Globe and Mail - 'Make rich seniors pay for drugs, report says'. A secondary issue is the "cost-effectiveness" of the care given by doctors, which I don't believe is quite the same meaning as "improve the quality of patient care."

So, first of all, I would like to say this: There are certain myths in society that need to be dispelled. The idea that the wealthy are worth more, in their very humanity, than the poor, is one of them.

There are other myths in society that are just as commonly believed, or rather, simply not questioned, but first things first. Some people having more wealth than others is not a good reason why they should be treated better, though of course, in some circumstances, having money enables a person to buy better treatment and health-care.

The slippery slope of the myth of the greater 'worthiness' of the wealthy leads not just to more choices given to them, but also more advantages in their health-care, to the extent that all other things being equal, the wealthy will still receive better treatment than the poor, even when it is available to all, apparently, regardless of class or wealth. Why?

The myth is that the wealthy are internally 'better' in character, in work ethic, determination, decision-making, and all other traits that make for a better citizen in Canadian society. Thus, more is given to them, and more is taken away from the poor. This is how our just society works.

Added June, 2012

According to this article, altering the way ODB (Ontario Drug Benefits program) is carried out could affect “universality of access.” Of course it would. That would be the whole purpose of having those who are better off pay for their own drugs. The only “alarms” likely to be raised would be those in the heads of the wealthy who might be thinking What next? The fears of the rich are so great they can’t help pushing down those in need farther down just to protect benefits they surely know they don’t deserve, much of the time, or need.

In addition to the idea to “overhaul the way doctors are compensated by paying them, not only for treatment, but care that is cost-effective.” If we leave this up to health care staff to determine, there’s no limit to how they might interpret this need. Cost-effectiveness might mean that care and treatment given to people in society who are not contributing in the way they would like, or not reproducing, or not providing various other tasks and functions seen as valuable, or do not own their own homes, might find themselves on the dnt list – do not treat.

It could be requested that staff and doctors treat all patients the same – *objectively* - meaning give each one the same quality of care as another, except that stands the risk of being interpreted as treating the patient as an object (unless of course, they are known to you), with no fair assessment of their needs or what treatment might be best for them.

Finally, the matter of sustainability, or as the article says, “Without such profound changes, suggests a report released Thursday by TD Economics, public health care as Canadians know it is unsustainable.” Yet we can afford F35s, full day kindergarten, sending financial help to countries like Haiti? I don’t see the government telling Michael Ferguson, or the Ministry of Education, or Michel Jean that’s there no money for their causes.

Some people in society have more care given to their needs. And that’s not likely to change, when the cuts come. Many of these would be able to pay for health-care not only for themselves but the healthcare of others. They will never come to see themselves as having enough money to share the wealth because they want to be able to leave a nice inheritance to their children.

Make rich seniors pay for drugs, report says
By Lisa Priest and Karen Howlett
Globe and Mail, and in Social Policy in Ontario
May 27, 2010
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/make-rich-seniors-pay-for-drugs-report-says/article1582236/  not working


Links updated June 2012

No comments: