October 13, 2004

McGuinty' new healthcare deal

McGuinty refuses to say how much MDs deal to cost It doesn't take a genius to realize that after you've already sprung a surprise on people and screwed most of them that maybe you shouldn't get involved with something similar - especially when it's your political career on line. Then again there are not many Ontarians that believe McGuinty's a genius since he hit Ontarians with a health-care tax and service cut earlier this year. With this new issue only time will tell if he's just making more mistakes and the final judgment will come in. However, there do seem to be some merits to the details that have thus far been released. One of the major pieces is the cutting back of drug prescriptions. All I can say to this is 'it's about time!' Too long have pharmaceutical companies been dictating how people are to get healthy. It seems as though almost every other week another drug has major warnings being released about it because of nasty side effects. One only has to see a drug ad to hear what medications can do to you while it may or may not actually deal with the problem you're taking it for (Vioxx is the most recent example). Furthermore, we are constantly being warned about the over prescription of many drugs and as a result they are becoming ineffective or being used as short-cuts. Three examples of this problem can be seen with antibiotics, anti-depressants, and Ritalin. By asking doctors to prescribe less and only to the absolute necessary we can begin to cut back on the false sense of security that prescription drugs has given us, the problems of side-effects, and the cost to our health-care system to cover the amount of medications that are out there. Another benefit of the new deal is not only for doctors but all of Ontario and that is the supposed promise to give doctors pay increases by cutting back on prescriptions. It is completely apparent as to why this is beneficial to doctors. They'll get more money! Who wouldn't want to get a pay increase for doing the right thing, such as not over-prescribing drugs? So how does this benefit all of Ontario? By paying our doctors more we are likely to at least partially deal with the so-called 'brain drain' of our MDs to the US. Since it has always been argued that part of the reason we have this drain is because of lower wages, we are essentially dealing with this. I am not saying that we aren't going to continue to lose some MDs, but with higher wages we are likely to lose less and that is a benefit because we are already facing problems of people not being able to find family doctors and having massive wait times for medical procedures. Lastly - and this is where my leftist views really emerge - the third benefit is a kick-in-the-nuts to drug companies. For far too long have they been brain washing us that we need there drugs and have done so while charging outrageous prices for them. There are two things that I very disturbing about the large drug companies. 1) they have become so influential that their arrogance has begun to show. Next time you watch a drug ad, listen carefully and you'll realize that they are essentially telling us that we should be telling our doctors what drugs we need. To loosely quote Bill Maher, 'when we begin telling doctors what drugs we need, they are then just our dealers'. 2) the power of the drug companies has also become too vast. For one thing they are somehow able to have drugs approved for public consumption despite them being worse for you then many illegal narcotics. For another, it's amazing that they can criticize their own drugs' safety and effectiveness when they are from Canada and government agencies do not even so much as blink. By having prescriptions curbed, the power and influence of drug companies will slightly decrease. Though this may not be a major crush to these companies, it is a start to taking control back and having positive influences and proper treatments become the norm once again. Don't get me wrong however, I don't think that all prescriptions are bad and that includes drugs such Ritalin or some anti-depressants. I've seen first hand the benefits that these drugs can hold for those that truly need it. Yet, I've also seen those that probably didn't need them and still took them and used them as short-cuts to a short-term gain. And this latter point is hopefully what will be partially taken care of to the very least. Yet while I see these benefits emerging from the deal's so-far released details, I do worry about what has not been released. The opposition parties have done well to pressure McGuinty's government to release everything that was agreed to. If we can only go on past experience, then what the Ontario Liberals aren't talking is probably the worst part of all. Much like the budget they released earlier this year, they talked about many things leading up to its release. It was generally those things that didn't appear in the budget, but we were hit with some nasty surprises and as a consequence they lost the trust of the people. Let's hope they have learned their lesson and have decided to only save the best for last instead of leaving us with more distrust for this government.

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Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)