A coworker of mine posted this and I thought I would share it:
As most of us know that were around in the eighties, the slash and burn started with the worst Prime Minister in our countries history Free trade Brian.
The provinces were forced to start cutting as the transfer payments were cut by the feds.
Here is an article that shed’s light on how things have gone from bad to worse and the subterfuge that is associated with it.
Copyright The Daily News (Kamloops) 2007)
Politicians are dead wrong when they claim that health-care costs are spiralling out of control, a leading health economist said Friday at TRU.
Robert Evans, a UBC economics professor and associate director of the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, said the public is being duped into believing that medicare and the public-health system in Canada are unsustainable.
Evans plotted the rate of change in health-care expenditures in relation to the growth of province’s economy to demonstrate that expenditure per capita on health has dropped since the Campbell Liberals took office in 2001.
“Expenditures are actually falling two per cent per annum,” he said. “That’s a real squeeze.”
The shrinkage in relation to the economy is probably unsustainable yet the public is led to believe that costs are skyrocketing and the system needs radical change.
"The polite term is terminological inexactitude. Other people call it lying. And you’re not going to be able to sustain that.
“Misleading. Ill-advised, perhaps. This is an example of misdirection, of getting people to look at the wrong thing, and it’s quite common, certainly in Canada.”
At a humanities and social sciences lecture, the economist urged a small audience to “look at the doughnut, not at the hole.” His talk came as the provincial government brings its Conversation on Health forum to Kamloops. The forum takes place today at the Coast Canadian Inn from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
He pointed to an economic growth rate of 6.4 per cent and a fiscal picture nationally that is the best of any major industrial economy in the world.
On another graph showing national health expenditures as a percentage of GDP, he showed that costs in Canada were rising but stabilized somewhat after the introduction of medicare in the 1960s. In the same period costs have soared in the for-profit system in the U.S.
Canada entered its current health funding dilemma as a result of successive recessions in the early '80s and early '90s. In response the federal government began cutting expenditures to bring down large budgetary deficits. The cuts left the provinces with a diminished share of health funding, a reduction that has never been corrected despite soaring economies.
“All I’m saying is, when we actually look at the numbers, the idea of fiscal collapse just isn’t borne out.”
Restraint meant cutting costs and cutting costs meant cutting the incomes and jobs of health care workers.
As budget surpluses developed, senior governments have reacted with tax cuts. As a result declining revenue has had the net effect of increasing health costs as a percentage of government expenditures overall, making it appear as though they are climbing at a greater rate than they actually are.
Those tax cuts have amounted to $150 billion to $200 billion, roughly run the health-care system.
“The federal-provincial relationship led us into that hole – competitive tax-cutting.”
Breaking down the impact of the restraint on various health sectors, Evans showed that hospitals have been far and away the hardest hit but the situation.
“As a percentage of national income, (spending on) hospitals has actually gone down. That’s a ski jump there in the early '90s,” he said, pointing to one precipitous drop for hospitals. “That’s when doctors and nurses said, ‘God, they’re killing the system.’ Well, they were cutting incomes.”
It should have come as no surprise when the system then had to grapple with a nursing shortage as nurses headed for more rewarding positions elsewhere.
“So there’s a big hole, agewise, in the structure of the nursing workforce.”
The resulting decline in the quality of care has been used to justify the introduction of private health-care options.
“Wow, here’s a big opportunity to start setting up private MRI centres. I’m not pointing fingers at anybody. I’m saying this is the way the system behaves.”
Health Minister George Abbott has in the past dismissed the figures Evans uses with the explanation that they are not the provincial government’s figures.
“That’s technically true but misleading,” Evans said.
An optimist might say that the provincial government’s motive is to control costs and it must posture itself for tough negotiations with those in the medical profession, he said.
“A pessimist would say they really are trying to convince British Columbians that health care is really falling apart and using this as justification for privatizing.”
“It does not help to have a deputy minister – Dr. Penny Ballam - - bail out.”
Ballam quit her senior health post in June, citing unsound planning for the health ministry. She explained last month that the government is creating policy on the run, a practice that has wrecked health-care systems around the world.
Evans refused to say which view he holds – optimistic or pessimistic – but he did say he sees pressure to shift the burden of the health-care costs from the healthy and wealthy to the unhealthy and unwealthy.
“Across the board we’re seeing a dramatic decrease in the distribution of income. . . . I think what is going on is a lot more inegalitarian society with more money at the top.”
A member of the Order of Canada, Evans took part in of the B.C. Royal Commission on Health Care and Costs in 1990, and of the National Forum on Health, chaired by former prime minister Jean Chretien from 1994 to 1997. His writings include several classics in the field.