The post itself is pretty tongue-in-cheek, but the first part is from the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal:
... Robin Williams and his wife, Marsha, offered to donate $80,000 US to fix a retaining wall and median strip near their home in the city's Seacliff neighbourhood.Then, somewhat facetiously, the author goes on:
City supervisor Gerardo Sandoval balked, fearing Williams would be getting preferential treatment. Sandoval said he didn't want the city to go "down the slippery slope" of putting privately funded projects ahead of those needed in less affluent areas.
But after city staff assured him that Williams' generosity would free up funds for poorer neighbourhoods, Sandoval joined nine colleagues in voting unanimously Tuesday to accept the comedian's gift.
City officials said the funds will be used for new benches, irrigation, planters and bronze memorial plaques.
What will actually happen is that as the rich start to buy their own bronze memorial plaques, their own retaining walls and their own median strips, support for the publicly funded median strip system will fall, leading not to increased funds being available for poorer areas but to a reduction in total public funding for median strips. And before you know it, every median strip in San Francisco will have two tiers.A little bit of hyperbole, but if you read it for what it is, it's kind of funny. Anyway, what this did do is make me think.
Remember, I'm 100% behind publicly funded health care, but I'm also realistic enough to realize that the current model we're employing isn't working. If the public health care system cannot or will not (if the current Liberal government has its way), then we must allow some private delivery of health care.
Now, the concern that the article addresses is the belief that allowing for-private health insurance will redirect funds away from the public system. I don't think that's the big problem - I think the legitimate concern is the quality of care in both systems. This was raised as a problem with Ralph Klein's "third way" of health care (CBC, Better rooms, hip replacements for those who can afford it: Klein) - essentially, with the right dollars, somebody would be entitled to better health care than someone in the public system, who would only get the basic, no frills care. The slippery slope would then lead to bare bones care in the public system, with the best care only available privately.
I think there is a way that could be explored, which Robin Williams did to get the retaining wall fixed. Mr. Williams didn't just go out, hire a contracting company, got everything fixed, and then went about his merry way. He gave the money to the government to do the repairs.
Now, I'm only thinking of this off the top of my head right now, so I might need some time to flesh this out. But, suppose instead of invisibly swiping the Visa at the doctor's office - all payments must be remitted through the provincial ministry, who would review the expenditures and monitor quality (if you're going to open it wide open) OR kind of the standard idea - the private clinics would be licensed by the provincial governments to deliver certain services it needs delivered to target health care delivery problems.
I'd like to flesh the first idea out later, but I'm a bit long weekended out right now.
Happy Lord Simcoe Day!!