LETTERS: Time to look at health care system’s strengths and weaknesses

Your editorial, “A cause for concern not a reason to panic”, on March 4, was timely and thoughtful.

While panic will serve no individuals or society well it is important for us to take an objective look at the strengths and weaknesses of our health system infrastructure which will soon be tested by yet another epidemic.

Since the mid-sixties Canada has developed a single payer public system for access to hospital and medical services in which the federal government originally contributed 50 per cent of the costs. Surely and steadily the federal contribution – drawing from the broadest and deepest tax revenues – has declined to about 20 per cent of costs, with more and more of the financial burden being off-loaded onto the provinces – with their narrower tax base and resources, particularly in the northern territories and Atlantic Canada, where hallway medicine is commonplace and local hospitals and emergency care centres have been closed.

Our single payer system has served us well but it has been increasingly under siege by for-profit interests who benefit from the systematic under-funding of our public health care system.

The contrast between the public health services in Canada and the for-profit United States is illuminated as one watches the Democratic party presidential debates about whether a single-payer health system and medicare for all is possible in their wealthy nation in which for-profit medicine and the obscene wealth of their associated health care industries trumps access to quality healthcare for all. Few Canadians would trade our system for that of the U.S. in which tens of millions of Americans are under-served or ignored – and many face financial ruin because of ballooning care costs and premiums!

Here in B.C. new hospitals and local, comprehensive urgent primary care centres have been initiated in the last two years but more must be done.

The inter-related housing and health care crises can only be solved when Ottawa begins to increasingly co-invest with the provinces in affordable housing – with its health benefits – and comprehensive health care for all including comprehensive services such as pharmacare, dental care and mental health services.

The independent Parliamentary Budget Office estimated in its June 20, 2019 study of international financial transactions that wealthy Canadian firms avoid paying at least $25 billion annually thanks to their use of foreign tax havens. Surely wealthy individuals and corporations who currently use foreign tax havens – and existing loopholes for the super-rich who can afford pricey tax consultants and lawyers – can join honest hardworking Canadians who pay their taxes for the quality health care and housing that are so desperately needed.

Ron Faris

Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Emergency crews respond to crash on Elk Lake Drive

Emergency vehicles are blocking access to the area

Youth riding high after Sidney re-opens skate park

Skate park, tennis courts, volleyball court and multi-use court proved popular on the weekend

Peninsula farm stands open for business with COVID-19 restrictions

Growers hopeful shoppers will support local farms

Long wait to reopen is over for Sidney gym

Owner of Sidney’s Anytime Fitness expects safety measures to be in place for some time

Suspect taken into custody after allegedly attempting to steal a dinghy in Sidney

The incident happened Wednesday morning near Beacon Wharf

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

RCMP remind public to leave dogs chilling at home on hot days

Dogsafe has designed a Dog in a Hot Car Responder Checklist

Another Asian giant ‘murder hornet’ found in Lower Mainland

This is the farthest east the invasive species has been found so far

B.C. girl left temporarily paralyzed by tick bite sparks warning from family

Mom says parents need to check their kids when they go camping

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at an oasis on closed U.S.-Canada border in Surrey

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Most Read