Thursday, March 4, 2010

To Your Health

It's not often that you'll find me in agreement with something coming from the fountain of wisdom known as B.C. Health Minister, Kevin Falcon.

But in this case, "Right on, Kev."

Speaking of the need to hold the line or better on inevitable increases in health care spending, Falcon warns, “Because if we don't do this, our system will implode under the weight of its own excess and inefficiency.”

The only problem with that statement is that it doesn't answer the question, "Oh, yah? Then what are you doing about it?"

Take the mandarins who head up the regional Health Boards, for example...please.

Salaries in the $300,000 range.

And every time one of them is sacked or decides to go fishing, the buy-out is in the half million dollar range.

These folks must calibrate, before taking on the job, the exact best pay-off moment to head into the sunset.

And the endless bureaucracies that support them.

And the top-heavy hospital management teams.

And the refusal to tally up the real cost of any surgery and position oneself to take remedial action in buying habits for supplies and equipment.

The province has consistently reduced services for mental health, addictions and seniors.

How has that helped the bottom line?

Almost no money goes for treatment in addictions, yet millions go to giving users more of their favorite free drugs and clean places to use.

In short, if Falcon is right - and for once, he is - that we must stop the mounting health costs, where is the Plan?

Is he the Man with the Plan?

Doesn't look like it.

The same government has announced a $50 Million commitment to a new Vancouver Art Gallery, when anyone with an abacus handy knows that such an animal will cost at last 10 times that number.

Planning is not Victoria's long suit.

And never forget that there always has been and always will be one single villain who drives the machinery of health care costs.

That is your friendly neighbourhood Federal Government, who many years ago covered half the costs of health care across the land.

Today, Ottawa pays 25% of the bill.

The next time, some rube posing as a politician asks for your vote in a national election, ask him or her when Ottawa will return to paying its full share of the health bill.

Rube or Ruby won't have an answer for you and will not deserve your vote.

1 comment:

Not Your Wife said...

The thing that holds us back in this province, David, is that no one seems capable of doing the hard work: tearing the whole system apart and building it into something that makes sense. Waste, horrendous waste, throughout the health authorities---mostly because multiple juridictions cause duplication of services, have different poliies, etc. Just having everyone on the same service delivery system would stop some of the insanity.

Political will--or rather, lack thereof sees the same thing happening time and again. The ols only solution to "fixing" the health problem is to throw more provincial money at it--as per yesterday's budget, it is the only ministry that is getting more funding, basically.

A lack of vision, a lack of planning, a lack of will, with the end game being as long as the economy is healthier by the next election, this will all go away. And it will be left to furture governments toplay the same shell game.

Who is going to do the right thing and get this mess in health care cleaned up???