I’ve long and vocally maintained that asking for more and bigger government is simply asking for more and bigger problems.
One rarely has to look much beyond the newspaper to find prime examples of government lunacy that simply wouldn’t be occurring if more and stiffer restrictions were placed upon the ability of governments to reach into the lives of the citizenry.
You want lunacy? I’ll give you lunacy.
Take the case of the Ontario woman who discovered a lump in her breast.
A visit with her physician confirmed her worst fear and then some. Not only did she have cancer, but an unusually aggressive form that requires post-surgical treatment with a fairly expensive drug that will hopefully stop other tumours from forming elsewhere in her body.
How expensive? How about $40,000 for a complete regimen (we’ll come back to that $40,000).
The problem here is that the woman in question has been denied funding for the medicine by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan not on the basis that the medicine is too expensive, but that the tumour that was surgically removed was not large enough, thus rendering her ineligible.
This is in spite of the fact that this cancer drug is considered mandatory in treating this form of cancer. There is a 100 per cent certainty that other tumours will form and when they reach a certain size, she will be eligible for the medication.
The problem here is that there is a 100 per cent chance she will require more surgery, more radiation and more chemotherapy, all at a cost far greater than the $40,000 that is being held back, supposedly in the interests of budgeting.
This raises questions. One, of course, is in regards to budgeting. How does forestalling treatment to a later date when more intensive and more costly treatment will be required save us money? How does the health-care system square this with the near-constant preaching we hear about the benefits of preventive medicine?
This also raises the question about overall health-care budgeting. We have no reason to believe that millions of taxpayers’ dollars don’t get squandered in exactly this fashion on a regular basis.
There are more existential questions raised. Proponents of greater socialization of our health care consider private health care cruel, yet what is more cruel than this? What is the difference between being denied care by some faceless budget committee and being denied care by the terms laid out in your private health-care policy?
Can anyone say that this patient is being better served by a health-care system into which she is obligated to pay, under penalty of law, than she might be by a private system under which she could have had some input into the terms of her health-care plan?
More than anything, this illustrates the fallacy that is promoted by most of our public health-care advocacy groups, that all our health-care system needs is more money.
Simply put, our health-care system works poorly because it’s a government run operation, and we know that because the government does so much else so poorly.
Ludicrously so, in fact.
Remember the $40,000? The same day I first read this cancer drug story, I also read about the federal government spending more than $40,000 on specialized French language training for a dyslexic tax collector.
And it gets better: We’re spending this money not because said tax collector actually needs French language training in order to better serve her customers — that would be us — but that she needs the training in order to pass a fluency test that will enable her to move up the pay scale.
This individual doesn’t need to learn French to do her job better — numbers are the same in English as they are in French — but simply so she can get a raise for being bilingual. You and I are apparently obligated to pay out thousands of dollars for specialized schooling because it would be discriminatory of us to stand in the way of her earning a raise. Better yet, we are told the tab for this specialized schooling might run into six figures.
This is flat-out stupid. It’s cowardly, immoral and stupid at least seven ways from Sunday, and we shouldn’t have to stand for it.
There is a straight, unbroken line from the kind of thinking that allows the squandering of tax dollars on politically correct language programs and budgetary death panels in our health-care system.
Bill Greenwood is a local freelance columnist.