On medicine

From the links of Metafilter comes "this":http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2004-06-13-med-malpractice_x.htm (with attendant discussion).

As a consistent supporter of private delivery of healthcare, this sort of thing is the one issue that always presents itself whenever I try to firm up said support to 100%. I have a hard time being unequivocal in my support of such a system when there are examples like this one to caution me.

Char and I have frequent talks about the current state of affairs in Canadian healthcare relating to this, and, since she's a medical worker, her input is probably more heavily weighted than most people. What I see in the current public system is excessive costs and rampant waste. A system so weighted down by unionization and skyrocketing costs that it won't be able to survive long enough to support anyone my age into retirement and beyond. As it currently stands, Canada Healthcare has the potential to reach 75% of the budget for each province long before I hit 50. Naturally, I'm a little bit concerned about this, since if there is no public health system and private delivery remains taboo, I'm not sure how it's proposed that I, personally, receive health care as I age.

Right now, the question is seen as one that is black and white to parties on both sides of the fence. Private health care advocates, of which I suppose I should count myself one, see the public system as a drain on public coffers whose cost would be better distributed across those that use it most. Public health care advocates tend to see even minor privatization as a first step onto a slippery slope that will lead to a brain drain from the primary public system and to the subsequent ghettoization of public care.

I wonder if there's a middle road here. I don't think, given the rising cost of advanced care, that the current model is sustainable. How does one determine who should have access to the new whiz-bang $100,000/year treatment? How can it be paid for? How do you tell a cancer patient, or their child, or their parent, that the treatment that will save them will cost too much? How can you get around this? As my parents' generation, the _largest_ generation, ages, who is going to pay for the immortality that they were promised in their youth? (Mom, Dad, this isn't directed at you specifically. I'm generalizing about your contemporaries. Please don't write me out of the will ;) )

We're talking about a future of health care that is going to have to be discussed and figured out, but proposing alternate methods of handling it is so taboo that no politician will dare do so.

I want to see a world where I can get the care I deserve. What 'deserve' means in this context, I don't know. That's what we have to decide. How it's paid for is something that has to be decided too, as well as who provides it.

There's a whole other issue in this article, too, about frivolous lawsuits. I don't have enough anger in me right now to really vent on that, so if you really want to know, too bad. You're out of luck.

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