Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Health Care Guarantees

What I called for here and here is getting kicked around again in the media and if the story is true, even politicians are getting in on the act. I'm impressed that I seem to have come to the same conclusion as Liberal Senator Michael Kirby's proposed reforms to health care independently (Globe & Mail, Satisfaction guaranteed):

Officially, Ottawa and the provinces are still in denial. But, privately, political insiders are whispering two little words that could mean the world to fretful patients on waiting lists: care guarantees.


The care guarantee sounds simple. But when Michael Kirby, chairman of the Senate social affairs committee, first suggested it in 2002, both Ottawa and the provinces regarded it as radical therapy. Basically, the idea is that governments would establish maximum wait times for a procedure -- and then pay for patients to receive care in other provinces or the United States if that deadline is exceeded.

This, in my opinion seems fair and reasonable. If the government cannot deliver the health care required, then the patient should not suffer "just because". I think if a certain federal party that's near and dear to me were to take a look at this, and make it one of the cornerstones of a certain health care policy that seems to jive with it ... it might be a good thing and not in a creepy Martha Stewart way.

I'm going to take a read through Senator Kirby's full report and to see what other recommendations are made. This report was made two-and-a-half years ago - I wonder if there's a something out there that can tell us what was implemented and what wasn't. The care guarantees weren't, but it's a big report - something from the report must have been implemented.

The full report is here:

The section on the Health Care Guarantee can be found in Section III.

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