Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On slanted intentions

In case it wasn't clear that the Sask Party is determined to push private health care on the province whether or not it's in the best interest of anybody but those who would stand to profit from it, Don McMorris has put all doubt to rest:
Don McMorris, Saskatchewan's health minister, said the province has the money for 3,000 extra surgeries and 2,500 extra CT scans in the province this year.

McMorris said he's willing to pay private clinics to perform the surgeries and is asking the health regions to research the availability of private clinics within Saskatchewan's two largest cities.
The province said it will only go ahead with this plan if surgeries cost the same or less in private clinics as they would in public hospitals.
Now, to start with it's worth pointing out that any potential private health operator with more than two functioning brain cells will notice an opportunity to low-ball a proposed price in advance in order to become the main provider intended to meet the Wall government's waiting list promises, then jack up the price once other options are ruled out. But setting aside the incentives for corporate providers to game the system, there's another part of McMorris' position which plainly speaks to a determined effort to privatize as much health care as the Sask Party can get away with.

After all, one would think that if the cost is equal, anybody concerned with getting services delivered would work within the current system rather than going out of their way to set up a new structure. But the Wall government is doing just the opposite: even if the price is "the same" such that there aren't any cost savings to be had, McMorris has declared that for-profit health care delivery is his government's first choice.

That should make it clear that the Wall government is using the wait lists which have expanded since the Sask Party took office as an excuse to wedge open the door to privatization, rather than seeing improved care as the end goal. Which means that Saskatchewan voters will want to take a hard look at how long they can afford to leave the Sask Party in charge of the province's health care system.

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