Two sides on issue widely contested

Staff ~ The Amherst Daily News
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First of all, we wish the best for Newfoundland-Labrador Premier Danny Williams as he goes for heart surgery.

Beyond that, however, it's not surprising that the premier's trip to an undisclosed location in the United States for care has caused such a flurry of controversy. That some of the scrutiny comes from south of the border makes the discussion comparing Canadian vs. U.S. health care that much more interesting.

For people in his home province, many are saying that Williams's choice to go elsewhere is a blow to confidence in the system there - particularly after an inquiry into botched examination results for breast cancer.

Our Opinion -

First of all, we wish the best for Newfoundland-Labrador Premier Danny Williams as he goes for heart surgery.

Beyond that, however, it's not surprising that the premier's trip to an undisclosed location in the United States for care has caused such a flurry of controversy. That some of the scrutiny comes from south of the border makes the discussion comparing Canadian vs. U.S. health care that much more interesting.

For people in his home province, many are saying that Williams's choice to go elsewhere is a blow to confidence in the system there - particularly after an inquiry into botched examination results for breast cancer.

Others bring up the queue-jumping issue, one of outcomes feared by those opposed to any kind of private component in Canada's public health system. They say two tiers will simply mean those with money - and Williams is well off - will be able to buy treatment and avoid a wait list.

That, however, is destined to become a moot point considering the 2005 Supreme Court decision that ruled the Quebec government cannot prevent people from paying for private insurance for health-care procedures covered under medicare.

Would Canadians have been more scandalized if Williams had been able to get treatment ahead of others waiting for similar procedures in this country's public system?

As welcome and beloved a service as Canadian health care is, we've been warned without a doubt it's in need of an overhaul if it's to survive.

Counterpoint to all this are online blog comments in the U.S., where institution of public health care is being hotly contested. Those against medicare say the choice by Williams is indication of an inferior system in Canada - which had been held up by proponents as a shining example.

There is no simple, clear answer. Those who want to think the worst will - on both sides of the border. But this case reminds us that we need to examine various models for health care for any chance to have the best.

Write to us:

Email:letters@ngnews.ca (The News, New Glasgow)

news@trurodaily.com (Truro Daily News)

cole@amherstdaily.com (Amherst Daily News)

All letters must be accompanied by the author's name, address and telephone number so that they can be verified. Letters are subject to editing and limited to 300 words. Copyright in letters and other materials submitted to the Publisher and accepted for publication remains with the author, but the Publisher and its licensees may freely reproduce them in print, electronic or other forms. Opinions expressed in letters are those of the authors. The Monday News, its Publisher or Publishers and Transcontinental Nova Scotia Media Group Inc. do not necessarily endorse the views expressed therein.

Organizations: Supreme Court, Truro Daily News, Amherst Daily News Transcontinental Nova Scotia Media Group

Geographic location: United States, Newfoundland, Canada Quebec New Glasgow

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Recent comments

  • Genghis
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Danny Boy should order all Canadian flags to be removed from each and every provincial building in Newfoundland and order them to be replaced with American flags.
    That's what Mr. Money Bags should do.