Yesterday I read in the National Post that premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Danny Williams, is scheduled for heart surgery later this week, but his office would not confirm whether the surgery will take place in Canada or in the United States. This morning I read at CTV News that the premier will travel to the United States to have his heart operation.
As a Canadian citizen, Mr. Williams has every right to travel anywhere he wishes to have an operation. But isn’t it a shame that the average Canadian isn’t also given the choice between using our state-funded health care system and using a private hospital or clinic?
We poor schmucks have to wait in line—sometimes months—because our governments have decided we are better off being denied the benefit of private health care. Public health care, we are told by the likes of Danny Williams—is the only way to go. Even to suggest that perhaps private health care might have a roll to play in Canada will result in being shouted down and made to feel un-Canadian.
Deputy premier Kathy Dunderdale is quoted as saying:
“Based on all the medical advice that he’s received, he is doing what’s best for him, and [doing] everything he can to ensure that he can have the best outcome from the surgery and that he can be back on his feet, back here doing his job as quickly as possible.”
Well, isn’t that nice. He’s doing what’s best for himself, i.e., foregoing Canadian health care in favour of private medical care in the United States.
The CEO of Eastern Health, Vickie Kaminski is quoted on the CTV News Web site as saying that it’s not uncommon for people to leave Newfoundland and Labrador to get cardiac surgery done.
I hope Danny Williams’s surgery goes well and wish him a quick recovery and return to work.
Perhaps when the premier is fully recovered he’ll consider tabling legislation which will allow private operators to offer a full range of heart treatment for profit in his province—perhaps then prominent citizens will not have to seek those services in a foreign country.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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