Health Discrimination by Private Drug Insurance is Wrong!

I AM fed up. Peeved. Perturbed. Disgruntled. ANGRY EVEN!

In Canada we are so, so proud of our health care system. Have to go to the hospital? Hey, no problem. Need to see the doctor? We gotcha covered?

Need medication? Whoa there sicko! Just hold on just one doggone minute.

If you have a good job, are over 65, or below the poverty line, you might be okay

But what if you're among the folks that aren't covered by a group plan or a government programme? How about them? Well private insurance has a nice selection of plans for you to choose from, all designed to suit your budget and needs!

But … just one question. Do you have a ... “pre-existing condition?”

You do? Ahhhh. You will find an option designed just for your behind the door marked E-X-I-T.

Here’s the thing. Back in 1966 - just one year before what Pierre Berton called “our last good year” - we had just finished the punishing process of ensuring access to doctors for all Canadians. Everyone looked around at what was left, brushed off their hands, shrugged their shoulders, cracked a cold one - and promptly forgot to finish the health care system. And no-one noticed.

Hey, who can blame them. The economy was great, everyone had jobs, money was plentiful, and employment inducements were being tossed about like confetti. I mean - let’s face it - drugs weren’t very expensive nor were they that good. I’ll bet a lot of people didn't even realize that drug coverage wasn’t part of national health care, because employee benefits simply slipped in ever-so-quietly to fill the gap.

Fast-forward 40 years. We have suffered through as many years of disproven right-wing economic policies ultimately cutting the common good to the bone. There is an ever-increasing number of brand-name drugs, with an ever-increasing (and often outrageous) price tag. The insurance industry has morphed into a profit-based behemoth with indefensible influence and resources enough to lobby the Canadian parliament at least 49 times in the last 12 months. And that’s just the industry association alone. 

It’s a safe bet they weren't there pressuring to get patients unfettered access to medication.

As a result, what has emerged as the prevailing narrative in Ottawa is - simply put - an informal fallacy, nothing more than a "false dilemma."

Either we opt for an old-style soviet national public program with forced choice and limited selection that will bring the public health system to its knees.

Or, predictably, we are urged with a sweet salesperson's grin to choose the rosy panglossian option touted by the insurance industry. One that promises rainbow-coloured farts smelling of persimmon with a future chock-full of choices galore and unlimited selection. All at a reasonable price-point. A veritable prescription drug nirvana.

Let me tell you this: that’s not “teen-spirit” you’re smelling.

There are SO MANY MORE SENSIBLE OPTIONS for Canadians to finally complete their health care system that serves the needs of its whole population, regardless of health. We don't really NEED private insurance to achieve this. In the same way that we no longer need a blacksmithing industry to manufacture things. It’s simply inefficient.

You see, the private insurance industry would be delighted to take that messy job of dealing with administering payments for prescription meds off government’s hands. Just one small thing, though. There’s those pesky sick people. Maybe you - the government - wouldn't mind dealing with them, so we can improve our bottom line. Pretty Please.

It’s really this simple:

If your business model discriminates against just one single sick person – denying them access to the very care they need – just so you can make a profit, then your business model is wrong.

You can’t be part of the solution when you are the source of the problems.