Our Medical System’s in Need of a Check-Up

By Jason Menard

At least now people should be able to see the problems that lie ahead with our medical system. Ironically, it took the delisting of regular eye exams to open people’s eyes to what’s going on with our province’s medical plans. Oh well, better late than never.

Pun fully intended, the Liberal Party’s party’s platform of delisting various medical services is short-sighted, and leads out down the road to where our future generation may enjoy an even poorer quality of life than the one we now enjoy.

Worst of all, these deregulations directly impact those who may need these services the most, but can least afford it. While some of us have extended benefits plans which can make up for the shortfall, others are not so lucky. As well, these plans are getting more and more extended each day. Premiums stand to rise, ancillary fees will start to be levied, and fewer things will be covered – leaving the taxpayer with the added burden of finding funds to cover services.

But, more likely, people won’t pay – and they won’t go.

An investment in health is an investment in our future. By delisting eye exams the Provincial government is creating a scenario wherein those who must choose between food and eye care will understandably choose the former. Human nature is that people will put their money elsewhere other than spending on an eye exam. But what are the long-term costs? How many early cases of glaucoma or cataracts will go unchecked? How much more of a burden on the health care system will that be when costlier reactive medicine becomes the norm and proactive care is slowly phased out?

Chiropractic and physiotherapy care are to be delisted in the near future. I ask what’s next? I ask, how are people expected to move forward in life, when their expenses may outpace their income? How are Ontarians to become more valued members of this province? How are they to buy a house, contribute to our local economy, and fill the province’s coffers with tax dollars when all their energy is spent treading water, simply trying to make do — instead of getting ahead?

There are those who swear by chiropractic care – its treatment allowing people to stay off costly pain killers or other pharmaceuticals. But with delisting, will those who choose not to go due to the added financial burden not see their productivity drop at work? Will that not choke the economy? Will that not stifle growth? Will that not send more people to the hospital, using up those valuable — and underfunded — resources?

And what of the others who need physiotherapy to carve out a meagre level of enjoyment and mobility from their lives? They tend to be the ones who need these services the most, but can least afford it.

Where does this stop? When do the Liberal values of social responsibility stop being overwhelmed by the neo-Conservative mantra of fiscal obsession? I am a proud Canadian. However, of late, I worry that my beloved Maple Leaf is being strangled by the Red-White-and-Blue mentality. If access to universal health care is truly a Canadian ideal, should we not put a premium on its care – rather than charging a premium for essential services?

When will governments see that an initial investment in proactive, preventative medicine will end up costing far less than simply being reactionary. Wasn’t that what mom always said? Tackling a problem when it starts prevents it from becoming bigger and unmanageable?

Many rejoiced when the Provincial Liberals replaced the Eves’ Conservative, yet now we are left to wonder if we really bought a new lease on life or are simply mortgaging our future using the opposite side of the same coin? Has Liberal Red turned Conservative Blue?

We as citizens have a responsibility to our friends, family, and neighbours to make our voices heard. Inaction on our part is tantamount to tacit approval of the government’s practices. However, making our voices heard is the key. To speak without action is as worthless as an unfulfilled campaign promise, and the only currency we hold is at the ballot box.

If you are concerned about the future of your health services, don’t wait until after the fact to speak up! Call your MPP, send them an e-mail (click here to find out where they are), or write them a letter.

And when you do let them know that next election you hope your ballot will be cast in appreciation for a Party that has rediscovered its roots, and not against an organization that has lost its focus, choosing the Right way and not the right way.

Delisted eye exams or no, even our politicians will see the light if we shine it bright enough!

2005 © Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved

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