Thursday, September 17, 2009

More Debate on Obama's Health Care Plan: Canada Dragged into the Fray Yet Again

Here's an opinion piece from the Globe and Mail.

Now I'm proud of our health care system and I'm happy to be working within it. I have said before that I feel free to practice medicine in a way that is in line with my values. I don't feel restricted in any way at this point. Maybe that would be different as an independent doctor (rather than as a surgical trainee), but I doubt it.

One thing that I do want to point out from this article though is the lack of any reference to the Social Determinants of Health. I have talked about them in a previous blog. It's the whole idea that we should be looking upstream for the causes of medical issues rather than devising ways to treat the problems that result.

The article doesn't give Canadian government programs, education and support as a reason for improved life expectancy, child mortality and decreased health care costs. It's not just the medical system doing a great's also the ability of our society to avoid a lot of the problems that come from a lack of programs that knit a safety net for members of society.

I think this may be a way to focus our future efforts too. We, as a society, should take on the challenge of identifying ways to further improve our support systems and see if we can further the inconvenient truth the republicans fear.


Home Staging said...

I'd like to address something from this article:

"Canada's approach to providing citizens with universal health insurance is superior to the U.S. model of private insurance."

This is an opinion not a fact. The fact is, Americans have higher survival rates for many types of diseases, including prostate and breast cancer. The Canadian system resorts to sending patients to the US because we cannot treat them.

Take care, Ella

Dr. Jesse Shantz said...

I agree that the statement is opinion and not fact. I would say that it is an informed opinion though based on metrics used by the WHO to define population health.

Your point about sending people to other countries is a whole other subject...and I would point out that medical tourism departing from the US is becoming a major industry. That's because the US system can't provide timely, affordable care to some citizens as well. Check out this New York Times article...

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