Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Money Follows You

Here is a novel idea that I think would help solve some of the health care issues currently facing Cdns - the money following the patient.

Instead of institutions like doctors, hospitals and specialized agencies getting paid by the province for your visit/care, you have the money and decide where you want to spend it. You would get an itemized statement that tells you how much you have in your health care fund for the year and a quarterly statement that shows how much you have used and how much has been charged by health care workers (making them more accountable or at least showing you how much it is costing for the care you get).

This does a number of things. It ensures that the money is spent where it belongs. Currently, if you have a special needs kid who is turned down by an agency because they don't meet the "criteria" - which can be wide ranging depending upon the agency - that agency still gets the funding for you whether you get the service or not.

It also makes the medical industry work harder for your money. Currently, the waiting time for hip or knee surgery is an average of 18 months (longer if you don't bitch and scream all the time). By you having the control about which hospital/ clinic gets your dollars for the surgery, the motivation is there by the hospital boards to free up the surgerical rooms and get the operations done in a timely manner. Right now they get the funding anyway ... why not make them really work for it.

This also cuts down on the bureaucracy (which means reduced costs) because they will now have to view medical care as more of a business practice and not just a place where regardless of the lack of accountability - they still get money given to them hand over foot by the taxpayer.

What about alternative medicines? Currently, unless you have additional coverage through a plan (employer or like Blue Cross) you have to fork out alot of money to get alternative care (massage therapy, physio therapy, accupuncture, homeopathy, etc.). In my opinion, wholistic medicine should be a partner in maintaining health for Canadians and your personal health fund would cover these fees.

There are many changes that need to be made to healthcare in order to save the system. Privitization may only be a partial solution. I think people have to start thinking outside the box and become more creative in finding ways to manage the care, without breaking the bank and placing ever increasing tax burdens onto average Cdns. This is one example (with required tweaking of course) that I think should be given some serious thought.

The money given to fund health care is borne by taxpayers anyway so why not let taxpayers decide how their money is to be spent.

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"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts" - Sir Winston Churchill.

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