December 6, 2002
Roy Romanow has delivered his verdict -
there's nothing wrong with Canada's health care system that $15
billion wouldn't fix.
That's what so great about hiring former
members of the NDP to look into a social crisis - there's no problem
so large that it can't be solved by throwing other people's money at
Now, $15 billion is a lot of money, unless
you want to date Anna Nicole Smith. Not many of us carry that around
as folding money. And if you're going to write a cheque for anything
like that, they're going to want to see at least two pieces of ID.
So to help out I thought about some ways we could cut a few corners
to bring the cost down a little bit.
Even though they give you the bum's rush
through hospitals these days, patients are still taking up far too
much valuable real estate. To solve the problem of beds being filled
with trivial things like triple bypass patients, hospitals should
install drive through windows at for while-you-wait surgery. If the
cost of a hospital stay is prohibitive, just drive up, stick
whatever needs operating on out the window, and five minutes later
you can drive yourself home.
Hospitals can save a lot by buying costly
operating instruments at Canadian Tire. Whenever I watch TV
documentaries on hospital surgery I swear they use the same drills,
saws and screwdrivers I got for Christmas last year. And they didn't
cost thousands of dollars either. The multi tool was just $29.95.
With the sander attachment you could even do plastic surgery. Plus
you can use your Canadian Tire bonus dollars towards buying a box of
screws for putting Mrs. Johnson's hip back together.
Patients are already required to bring their
own tissues, pillowcases and over the counter medications. Hospitals
could go one step further and require patients to bring their own
beds, saving the need for buying expensive furniture. Patients who
don't want to carry their own bed always have the option of bringing
a sleeping bag. This can make hospital wards feel more like a
sleepover than chronic care - and everyone knows an uncomfortable
patient is a motivated patient.
The high cost of drugs is a major part of
our expensive health care system. We could shave quite a bit off the
$15 billion needed if patients were encouraged to make their own
drugs. Who knows what you have the cure to sitting around
undiscovered under your kitchen sink? The people running Ecstasy and
meth labs never look that bright, so I figure the average person has
a shot of finding the cure for something. And if you're no good at
making your own drugs, just pop one of those extra strong mints in
your mouth and pretend it's your heart medicine. They keep saying
that for some people placebos work just as well as real drugs -
maybe you'll be one of the lucky ones.
More money should be spent on alternative
health care providers, like witch doctors. It's been shown - OK, I
read it somewhere on the Internet - that half of health problems are
caused by bad ju-ju, curses, the evil eye and having your aura out
of alignment. Just because it doesn't actually work is no reason to
deny them funding. After all, if we only paid for things that work
government would be free.
Humour is of course the best medicine. So
I'm hoping that some of that $15 billion can be freed up and sent to
local newspaper columnists to make sure that generations of
Canadians can benefit from a good laugh.
Or at least as good a laugh as $15 billion