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Ralph Klein has gone and it is time to retire Ralph's World. Thanks to all of you who have supported this venture by contributing material and through your comments. It has been fun.

Should we get another blog underway? Let me know your thoughts by e-mailing me at johnnyslow@gmail.com.

John Slow
January 1, 2007

Saturday, September 16, 2006

SENSIBLE HEALTH CARE # 17 

FIRST DRAFT OF POSSIBLE LETTER TO CANADIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
AMA Etc.

We are firmly convinced that further movement toward the privatization of medical services in Canada will undermine and destroy the high level of trust and esteem that the medical profession, and physicians in particular, now hold in the public eye.

We firmly believe the following to be true:-

(1) That the high level of trust, respect and recognition now accorded the medical profession has been earned, especially here in Western Canada, by physicians whose commitment is to healing. The dedication has been demonstrated by clear evidence in their attitudes and behavior that their loyalty above all loyalties was, and still is, to the persons who need the medical expertise they are trained to provide.

(2) We further believe: that the trust, respect and prestige accorded by the public to the medical profession will plummet to the level now accorded to the CEOs and other financial officers of large corporations whose loyalty above all other loyalties is to the investors whose demands for profit place the doctor in the position of treating patients as sources of income rather than persons needing medical help to promote health.

There is ample evidence from the US and other countries that the word privatization is, in fact, being used to obscure the truth that, when so-called private medicine is introduced, medically trained physicians do, in fact, become employees of corporations and not primarily practitioners of medicine. The highest loyalty of those corporations is to financial investors whether called private insurers or HMOs.

Under corporate entities, decisions about the appropriateness and duration of patient care can and does become influenced, if not directly mandated, by non-medical accountants, administrators or representatives of investment-driven private insurance corporations.

We fail to see why highly trained and professional physicians want to be demoted to the level of corporate servants even if a corporation is controlled by medical doctors who no longer practice medicine.

(3) We further believe that Canada already has the most sustainable and comprehensive public insurance coverage to be found in the world today. Under the Canada Health Act, it is fully understood that the whole of society, and not just one class with higher than average financial capacity is eligible for medical treatment.

We refute the claim by some that: because the public considers medical services in Canada to be “free” they are widely abused. In fact, it has been the fault of both government and the medical establishment that the country at large has not been informed and aware of the huge and widely dispersed benefits citizens receive for their contributions to their own public health care insurance.

(4) We believe that: by contrast with Canada’s hugely successful health insurance plan, that provides universal coverage on the basis of need rather than on the grounds of the ability to pay, there are no known private insurers who do not restrict coverage and withhold benefits from some portion of society, usually the poorest and those who need it most.

(5) We are well aware that there are those who, for political, personal, financial or professional reasons promote the illusion that private enterprise can provide medical service more effectively than our publicly supported system. Toward that end they are willing to ignore or denigrate the overwhelming evidence from other countries, the US in particular, that medical services not only are more costly when provided by corporate entities but they do not even attempt to cover the needs of a significant portion of their populations.

We are, therefore, as certain as any informed group of citizens can be that if the (Canadian Medical Association, AMA Etc.) moves further in the promotions of the so-called privatization of medicine in Canada, the medical profession as a whole and physicians in private practice in particular, will be very negatively changed from its present high level of professionalism into servants of powerful corporate controllers.

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