Tag Archives: Canada

Is health care a right or a commodity?

I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery
I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery

Here is a splendid post about the economics of health care from Ben Shapiro, writing for National Review.

He responds to a view held by those on the radical left: people need health care, therefore health care is a right.

Excerpt:

The idea here seems to be that unless you declare medical care a right rather than a commodity, you are soulless — that as Marx might put it, necessity, rather than autonomy, creates rights.

This is foolhardy, both morally and practically.

Morally, you have no right to demand medical care of me. I may recognize your necessity and offer charity; my friends and I may choose to band together and fund your medical care. But your necessity does not change the basic math: Medical care is a service and a good provided by a third party. No matter how much I need bread, I do not have a right to steal your wallet or hold up the local bakery to obtain it. Theft may end up being my least immoral choice under the circumstances, but that does not make it a moral choice, or suggest that I have not violated your rights in pursuing my own needs.

But the left believes that declaring necessities rights somehow overcomes the individual rights of others. If you are sick, you now have the right to demand that my wife, who is a doctor, care for you. Is there any limit to this right? Do you have the right to demand that the medical system provide life-saving care forever, to the tune of millions of dollars of other people’s taxpayer dollars or services? How, exactly, can there be such a right without the government’s rationing care, using compulsion to force individuals to provide it, and confiscating mass sums of wealth to pay for it?

The answer: There can’t be. Rights that derive from individual need inevitably violate individual autonomy.

But there are ways to make a commodity less expensive, and of higher quality. It happens all the times in free markets, where innovators are rewarded with profits – just think of the people who sell smartphones.

More:

To make a commodity cheaper and better, two elements are necessary: profit incentive and freedom of labor. The government destroys both of these elements in the health-care industry. It decides medical reimbursement rates for millions of Americans, particularly poor Americans; this, in turn, creates an incentive for doctors not to take government-sponsored health insurance. It regulates how doctors deal with patients, the sorts of training doctors must undergo, and the sorts of insurance they must maintain; all of this convinces fewer Americans to become doctors. Undersupply of doctors generally and of doctors who will accept insurance specifically, along with overdemand stimulated by government-driven health-insurance coverage, leads to mass shortages. The result is an overreliance on emergency care, costs for which are distributed among government, hospitals, and insurance payers.

So, what’s the solution for poor people? Not to declare medical care a “right,” and certainly not to dismiss reliance on the market as perverse cruelty. Markets are the solution in medical care, just as they are in virtually every other area.

Treating medical care as a commodity means temporary shortages, and it means that some people will not get everything we would wish them to have. But that’s also true of government-sponsored medical care, as the most honest advocates will admit. And whereas government-sponsored medical care requires a top-down approach that violates individual liberties, generates overdemand, and quashes supply, markets prize individual liberties, reduce demand (you generally demand less of what you must pay for), and heighten supply through profit incentive.

It’s always a good idea to look at how health care is working in countries that do have single payer health care systems. Canada has a single-payer system. How is that working out?

The Fraser Institute issued a recent report on health care in Canada:

Waiting for treatment has become a defining characteristic of Canadian health care. In order to document the lengthy queues for visits to specialists and for diagnostic and surgical procedures in the country, the Fraser Institute has—for over two decades—surveyed specialist physicians across 12 specialties and 10 provinces.

This edition of Waiting Your Turn indicates that, overall, waiting times for medically necessary treatment have in-creased since last year. Specialist physicians surveyed report a median waiting time of 20.0 weeks between referral from a general practitioner and receipt of treatment—longer than the wait of 18.3 weeks reported in 2015. This year’s wait time—the longest ever recorded in this survey’s history—is 115% longer than in 1993, when it was just 9.3 weeks.

[…]It is estimated that, across the 10 provinces, the total number of procedures for which people are waiting in 2016 is 973,505. This means that, assuming that each person waits for only one procedure, 2.7% of Canadians are waiting for treatment in 2016.

[…]Patients also experience significant waiting times for various diagnostic technologies across the provinces. This year, Canadians could expect to wait 3.7 weeks for a computed tomography (CT) scan, 11.1 weeks for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, and 4.0 weeks for an ultrasound.

Research has repeatedly indicated that wait times for medically necessary treatment are not benign inconveniences. Wait times can, and do, have serious consequences such as increased pain, suffering, and mental anguish. In certain instances, they can also result in poorer medical outcomes—transforming potentially reversible illnesses or injuries into chronic, irreversible conditions, or even permanent disabilities. In many instances, patients may also have to forgo their wages while they wait for treatment, resulting in an economic cost to the individuals themselves and the economy in general.

The typical cost of the single-payer health care system to a Canadian family is nearly $12,000.

Socialist Canada has been doing a lot of taxing and spending to try to fix this problem, but the problem is getting worse. And no wonder: when the government controls health care, it becomes a tool for buying votes. Abortions and sex changes are “health care” in Canada. Breast enlargements and IVF are “health care” in the UK. Of course, good luck getting treatment when you are in your old age and will not be voting much in the future : both Canada and the UK have euthanasia programs to get rid of elderly people who are no longer as useful to politicians as young people who still have lots of voting ahead of them.

Canadian judge bans pro-life ads, because free speech makes people feel bad

This pro-life ad was banned because it hurts people's feelings
This pro-life ad was banned because it hurts people’s feelings

This is from Heat Street. It reminds me what a joke of a country Canada has become since their 50 year slide into secular left fascism.

Excerpt:

A Canadian city was “proportionate and reasonable” in censoring a pro-life ads from the sides of its buses because the banners were “likely to cause psychological harm to women who have had an abortion,” according to a ruling.

Justice C.S. Anderson has ruled that the city of Grande Prairie in the province of Alberta “reasonably” balanced the freedom of speech rights of the pro-life advertiser with the city’s own policies of providing a “safe and welcoming” space for bus passengers and pedestrians with its advertising.

According to the judge, the ruling won’t prohibit every pro-life ad in the city, but he stressed that it was reasonable to ban banners specifically produced by the Calgary-based Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform (CCBR) because they might upset women and children.

The pro-life group’s ad showed unborn babies at seven weeks’ and 16 weeks’ gestation followed by an empty frame filled in red to represent an aborted baby. Underneath the images were the captions: “growing,” “growing” and “gone.” The ad also read: “Abortion kills children” and showed the group’s website.

Judge Anderson said that CCBR website includes messages such as “Now is the time to put an end to the slaughter. Now is the time to look evil in the face and say, enough. Now is the time to join together, and lend our voices to those who had theirs brutally taken from them.”

“These are strong statements that vilify women who have chosen, for their own reasons, to have an abortion; they are not merely informative and educational,” Anderson added.

Now, it’s true that I am a bit of a “hold women accountable” person. In the past I’ve blogged about how women are more supportive of abortion rights and gay marriage than men. So, naturally, I wanted to know if the pro-abortion, anti-free-speech judge was a man or woman. Answer: she’s a woman:

The Honourable Charlene S. Anderson, a lawyer with Ross Smith Asset Management Inc. in Calgary, is appointed a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta (Calgary) to replace Madam Justice B.L. Veldhuis who was appointed to the Court of Appeal on February 8, 2013.

Honorable!??? That’s not the word I would use for an anti-free-speech fascist, but I know that Canada is a third-world banana republic, where the right to free speech is not guaranteed in their founding documents. It’s a tax-and-spend nanny state, where the government micromanages the words of the citizens.

Canadian court rules that Christian university cannot uphold Christian moral values

Canada Election 2015: Socialists in red, Communists in Orange, Conservatives in blue
Canada Election 2015: Socialists in red, Communists in Orange, Conservatives in blue

This article about religious liberty in Canada is from Vancouver Sun. (H/T Glenn)

Excerpt:

Ontario’s top court has dismissed an appeal from a private Christian university that forbids sexual intimacy outside heterosexual marriage, denying its proposed law school accreditation in the province.

The ruling from the Ontario Court of Appeal on Wednesday dealt a significant blow to Trinity Western University in a legal battle which pitted freedom of religion against equality rights.

A panel of three appeal court judges found that while the university’s religious freedom had been infringed upon, the institution discriminated against the LGBTQ community.

Trinity Western — which is fighting similar cases at appeal courts in Nova Scotia and British Columbia — expressed disappointment at the ruling, saying it would be taking its fight to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Ontario case saw the Evangelical Christian institution based in Langley go up against the Law Society of Upper Canada after the regulatory body voted not to accredit the university’s planned law facility.

At the heart of the dispute was Trinity Western’s “community covenant” or code of conduct, which all students are required to agree to.

The key point about the code of conduct is that it doesn’t discriminate against any particular group, e.g. – LGBT. It also forbids excessive drinking and premarital sex by heterosexuals:

It includes requiring students to abstain from gossip, obscene language, prejudice, harassment, lying, cheating, stealing, pornography, drunkenness and sexual intimacy “that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”

Now read this next part carefully. Although there was no legal support for denying a Christian university religious liberty and freedom of association, there was the hurt feelings of the LGBTQ community:

“The part of TWU’s Community Covenant in issue in this appeal is deeply discriminatory to the LGBTQ community, and it hurts,” the appeal court ruling said. “The LSUC’s decision not to accredit TWU was indeed a reasonable conclusion.”

In Canada “it hurts” means the end of human rights like religious liberty and freedom of association. Why? Because the Christian community in Canada has – for decades – voted to increase the size of government at the expense of liberty, in order to get free stuff. It doesn’t matter if the Christians who wanted a Christian university are hurt. Or that the Christian students at TWU are hurt. Only the hurt of the LGBT community matters, and their hurt changes laws, criminalizes dissent and annihilates natural rights. There are no such things as freedom of religion and freedom of conscience in Canada. There never was free speech, either. Anything that might hurt the feelings of left-wing groups has to be made criminal.

I’ll put this as plainly as anyone can: Canadian “Christians” have been voting to transfer wealth and power to a big secular government for years. They wanted government to cover health care, and now the government thinks that health care is providing free sex changes, free IVF and free abortions. Canadian “Christians” wanted their 30 pieces of silver more than they wanted the freedom to act as if the Bible was true in public. It turns out that the more wealth and power that you transfer to a secular government, the more likely they are to abuse that wealth and power in trampling out any ideology that interferes with their buying votes from their favored special interest groups.

Canada’s Justice Minister calls for two-year prison sentence for critics of transgenderism

Kathleen Wynne and Justin Trudeau
Kathleen Wynne and Justin Trudeau of the Liberal Party, marching in a gay pride parade

Bill Muehlenberg documents a few headlines from just the last week about the transgender movement’s latest concerns: (H/T Dr. Michael Brown)

Canada Prepares Nationwide Ban on Anti-Transgender Propaganda
May 18, 2016
Citing the need to make transgender people “feel safe and secure in who they are,” Canada’s Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould introduced legislation Tuesday that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of “gender identity” or “gender expression” and make anti-transgender “hate propaganda” punishable by up to two years in prison.

New York City imposes fines up to $250,000 for refusing to call trans person ‘ze’ or ‘hir’
May 19, 2016
New York City’s human rights commission says it will fine New York employers and landlords up to $250,000 for using the wrong pronoun to refer to a transgender person.

Female security guard arrested, faces hate charge for removing man from women’s restroom in D.C.
May 19, 2016

Girls must get over their ‘discomfort’ at seeing male genitals in locker room: Charlotte Observer
May 20, 2016
Girls need to get over the “discomfort” they may feel at seeing male genitalia in the locker room, the editorial board of one of North Carolina’s largest newspapers wrote in a piece supporting the Obama administration’s transgender school facilities edict.

The most dangerous, and underreported, part of Obama’s transgender edict
May 20, 2016
School districts must allow biological males and females to spend the night together in the same hotel room on field trips; Colleges must let men who say they are transgender be roommates with one or more women; and School officials cannot even tell those young women or their parents in advance that their new roommate is a man, without risking a federal lawsuit.

Bill is in Australia, so he has a few cases listed in his post that I hadn’t heard of. To be honest, their stories seemed tame compared to the Canadian story.

Let’s look at the Canadian story more closely (Daily Caller):

Citing the need to make transgender people “feel safe and secure in who they are,” Canada’s Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould introduced legislation Tuesday that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of “gender identity” or “gender expression” and make anti-transgender “hate propaganda” punishable by up to two years in prison.

The proposed legislation — which was unveiled on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia — would amend the Canadian Criminal Code to expand existing “hate speech” prohibitions to include any public speech or communication that “promotes hatred” on the basis of “gender identity” or “gender expression.”

An identical ban on anti-gay “hate propaganda” has been in place for several years and has caused problems for Christians who oppose gay marriage. In 2013, the Canadian Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a Christian street preacher for distributing fliers denouncing homosexual behavior.

The court justified the preacher’s conviction on the grounds that he used “vilifying and derogatory representations to create a tone of hatred” against homosexuals. The court held that the pastor’s religious freedom did not excuse him from violating “hate propaganda” laws.

[…]Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — who ideologically leans far to the left — championed the bill as a much-needed step for transgender rights in Canada. “We must continue to demand true equality,” he said at a news conference.

Wilson-Raybould was similarly enthusiastic about the bill. “We live in a time when discrimination in any form is completely unacceptable,” she said.

Two years in prison, under the Criminal Code, for speech that offends the government’s favored group. That’s what Canadian taxpayers are paying their Liberal Party government to do. They elected them in a majority, so this is going to happen. No one can stop them.

You might remember that the Justice Minister is the same woman who introduced the euthanasia bill. Euthanasia is Canada’s preferred method of reducing costs in their single-payer health care system. After all, they need to save money for the abortions, IVF and sex changes they cover. Canada represents the triumph of compassion over moral boundaries. “Let’s not make judgments that make people feel bad” won out over “let’s have moral rules that protect the weak and innocent, preserve our liberties and conscience rights, and reduce the costs to taxpayers of expensive choices made by individuals”. They wanted to let everyone do what they wanted and pass the costs to taxpayers. Anyone who dissents has to be silenced or imprisoned, because dissent is judgment, and and judgment makes people feel bad.

Why is this push on transgender priorities happening? For those who have a sense of history, it’s very clear that the sex-differences denying of the gay activists is nothing more than an extension of the sex-differences denying of the radical feminists. Those who looked favorably on the demands of the radical feminists in order to appear chivalrous (to the wrong kinds of women) should have expected this. It turns out that if you really believe that a woman is identical to a man, and all differences between them are cultural, then… a woman really is identical to a man, and all differences between them really are cultural. I know many pastors who were unwilling to take on radical feminism, because they wanted to appear chivalrous. Sometimes, it is more important to say “no” than it is to be liked.

Canadian Liberal Party introduces bill to legalize euthanasia

Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (right)

Life Site News has a story about Canada’s new assisted suicide bill:

The Liberal government’s euthanasia bill introduced Thursday will not protect vulnerable Canadians or the conscience rights of physicians, say anti-euthanasia activists.

While Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould’s Bill C-14 is more restrictive than the legislative framework the special joint parliamentary committee recommended in its February 2016 report, it essentially provides “a perfect cover for acts of murder, absolutely,” says Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

The draft legislation restricts eligibility for euthanasia and assisted suicide to competent patients 18 years of age and older who have “an incurable serious and incurable illness, disease or disability” which “causes them enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable to them and that cannot be relieved under conditions,” who are in “an advanced state of decline in capability” and whose “natural death is reasonably foreseeable.”

The legislation mandates that a patient request assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia in writing, and that this request be approved by two independent medical practitioners, or nurse practitioners.

It mandates a 15-day waiting period after the request is approved, but that period can be waived if the two medical practitioners deem the patient’s condition will deteriorate before that time is up.

[…]Schadenberg says the bill “does not provide effective oversight in the law,” because while it calls for two independent physicians or nurse practitioners to approve a request for euthanasia,  “this is the system where the doctor or nurse practitioner who does the act also does the reporting.”

The legislation also provides “legal immunity for anyone, anyone who does anything at a person’s request, under Sections 241.3, 241.5,” he said.

[…][W]hile the bill acknowledges conscience rights in its preamble, it “provides no protection for conscientious objectors,” according to Albertos Polizogopoulos, a constitutional lawyer for Canadian Physicians for Life.

Canadian doctors are already forced to perform abortions against their conscience, so this last point is no great surprise.

In a country that has single payer health care, all medical care is paid for by the federal government. You pay into the system your whole life (at an average of 42% of your income, in Canada) and then at the end, you get in line and hope that the government will treat you. It is extremely convenient for the government to kill off patients who are elderly. Elderly patients won’t be able to vote in many more elections, but they will want to draw away funds that could be used to buy the votes of young people who want “free” breast enlargements, plastic surgery, sex changes and IVF treatment. So the government has every incentive to cut loose the old people and then buy the votes of young people with the taxpayer money they save. Single payer health care is a scam to help politicians stay in power.

Similar laws in places like Belgium and Netherlands have been used to cut down on the medical bills that the government must pay.

A Parliamentary committee brief that I found on the Canadian government web site says this:

A study published in the NEJM entitled: Recent Trends in Euthanasia and Other End-of-Life Practices in Belgium (March 19, 2015) found that 4.6% of all deaths in the first six months of 2013, in the Flanders region of Belgium, were by assisted death and 1.7% of all deaths were assisted deaths without explicit request representing more than 1000 assisted deaths without explicit request in 2013.

The supplemental appendix in the study informs us how the researchers classified the data.

It states: “If in the latter case the drugs had been administered at the patient’s explicit request, the act was classified as euthanasia or assisted suicide depending on whether the patient self-administered the drugs. If drugs were used with the same explicit intention to hasten death but without the patient’s explicit request, the act was classified as hastening death without explicit patient request. This can include cases where a patient request was not judged as explicit by the physician, where the request came from the family or where the physician acted out of compassion.”

This research study confirms that many intentional hastened deaths are occurring without the explicit request of the patient which contravenes the Belgian assisted death law and medical ethics.

Previously, I blogged about how the UK government provides bonuses to hospitals who put elderly patients on an end-of-life pathway.

Ethicist Wesley J. Smith comments on the Canadian law in National Review.

Excerpt:

The Canadian government has tabled its new euthanasia bill–and as expected, it will be the most radical in the world.

Since the death doctor need not be present at the demise, the bill creates an unprecedented license for family members, friends–heck, a guy down the street–to make people dead.

[…]In short, this provision is the perfect defense for the murder of sick and disabled people who requested lethal drugs.

The George Delury case is an example of what I mean: Delury said he assisted wife, Myrna Lebov’s suicide out of “compassion” and at her request due to MS.

But his real hope was not only to be free from care giving, but become famous writing a book about her death. (He did, What If She Wants to Die?)

It almost worked. But because assisted suicide was a criminal offense, authorities conducted an investigation and discovered his diary.  It showed that contrary to the compassionate face Delury was conjuring, in reality, he emotionally pressured Myrna into wanting to commit suicide, telling her, for example, that she was a burden and ruining his life.

He also withheld full dosage of antidepressants so he could use those drugs to kill her. And, he but put a plastic bag over her head to make sure she died.

If euthanasia Canada’s bill had been the law of New York when Delury killed Myrnov, he might have been able to coerce her into asking for lethal drugs. At that point, he could have killed her any time he wanted and there wouldn’t have been a criminal investigation to find his diary.

Canada has just paved the way for a person, hungry for an inheritance or ideologically predisposed, to get away with the perfect murder.

In the last election, the Liberal Party promised the Canadian voters the moon, in terms of new spending. They said it would only add 10 billion to the deficit this year. But now (after the election) the number has exploded to 30 billion this year and over 100 billion over the next five years. Could this euthanasia plan be the first step in balancing the books, so they can win re-election?