I am 61 years 8 months old. For most of that time I have been blessed with very good health. That changed in October 2009 hen it was discovered that I had cancer in my throat. During the intervening time I have used up thousands of dollars of medical care. If I was in the USA and paying for this care it would easily exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars.
35 sessions of radiation therapy
3 sessions of chemotherapy
5 operations totaling about 30 hours on the operating table.
2 weeks approximately of hospitalization
multiple ct-scans and ex rays
lots of pain killer, antibiotics, blood pressure med,
many appointments with doctors
several weeks of home nursing visits t ensure my recoveries were going along without infections etc.
The point of all this, besides the fact htat I am still here is that up till I started that little trip through our medical system I was probably in a gross surplus position with regard to the amount of tax I had to send in each year and the amount of medical services I consumed. At any time up till I turned 60 it would probably have made sense for me to drop out of the scheme. I’d tell the government to stop taking off the medical part of my taxes and then I would pay for the occasional trip to the emergency room or doctors office myself. This is the sort of system a lot of Canadians think would be a good idea.
I have never thought it was a good way to go.
Long before I needed all this help myself I was happy to pay those taxes to support the system. It wasn’t because I expected to need he help myself either. It was because long long ago I had a kid brother born with a significant birth defect.
My brother was in and out of The Toronto sick Children”s Hospital multiple times through his childhood. He racked up the same sort medical bills as a kid that I have racked up in the last year.
We didn’t know it at the time but since he was born in 1958 before medicare was established the cost of helping him came within a hairs breadth of bankrupting our family. Dad switched jobs from one he liked to one he loathed simply so he could get the medical coverages that came with working for GM. At the time that amounted to things fought for and achieved by a big strong union at a big strong corporation rather than government systems. My parents never felt that they should discuss finances with us children but it also meant Mum went to work as a nurses aide at an old folks home to help pay back the debt they had run up. Back then it was quite odd for a married woman to be out working away from home. Certainly not unheard of but unusual. Of the 30 families living on our small street I can only think of 3 where the mothers were working full time.
At any rate my parents managed to pay of the bills without going bankrupt and the medical care kept my brother alive. That thought is why I have never been bothered by the higher taxes we pay in Canada.
Now we are in the middle of another election. Of course all the pols are out telling everyone who will listen that they are the best choice for a better Canada. Harper however has repeatedly and over many years shown that he is fully in favour of a more American style of medical practice. His political smarts forces him to temper his declarations now, but it is plain that he is one who believes there should be a greater role for private enterprise in delivering medical care for the population. This fact doesn’t mean he is an ogre. It doesn’t even mean he is mean spirited. It just means he feels private enterprise is a useful way to go in providing health care. I disagree!
Government is the way in which we as a population unite our strength and efforts to provide the services we could not manage ourselves. Highways, national defense,
justice systems, education, and certainly here in Canada medical care.
If I lived in the united states I wouldn’t. I mean by that I wouldn’t be alive. My sister had to go to hospital there lately and the charge just for the room was nearly $1000 per night. That didn’t include any treatment that was just the charge for staying in the room.
Everything else was tabulated and charged out. The number of bandages they used, the soap required to wash her, the food she consumed, etc etc. This was all at a hospital she works at. She has insurance that paid the bulk of her bills but without it she could barley have gotten by with her illness. Without our medical system I could npt have gotten anywhere close to paying for the treatment I received. I would either be dead or perhaps in an advanced state of cancer depending on just how quickly it spread . I most certainly couldn’t have paid for it in any way so I’d just be waiting around to find out what or when I would expire.
That is just one of the main reasons I won’t be voting for Harper. I don’t trust him to keep our system strong and growing. I feel he only supports it grudgingly and that he will undermine the programme as soon as he gets the chance. I also won’t vote Conservative because of the secrecy, the indifference to our democratic traditions, the pork barreling, the disdain for due process, the indifference to the plight of Canadians in trouble in other countries, … the list goes on and on.
I will continue by the way to be happy to pay the higher taxes that it take to be a Canadian and have the level of government services that we enjoy here. And I’ll be happy the next time my brother and I get together. Both of us alive because of the medical services available to us even though we aren’t wealthy.