Ever had this experience? You are driving on a four-lane highway after a heavy meal. You feel tired. There is not much traffic, it’s raining and getting dark. You are on cruise control. After a while, your eyes start closing. You pinch yourself, open the window, increase the radio’s volume but to no avail. You know you have to keep awake but your body is telling you otherwise. Eventually you get to your destination but there are whole moments of the drive that you don’t remember at all.
I fear the writer of “Health Care Crisis: Private sector could help”, Luigi Rocca, a businessman, was in such a state when he wrote his letter to the Times and Transcript on November 12.
His first moment of unconsciousness is when he argues our public health care system costs too much and will use up to fifty percent of our provincial budget. What are the real numbers? From 1975 to 2010, Canada has spent from 4% to 5% of its Gross Domestic Product on hospitals and doctors services while drug plan costs saw a 15% average annual increase. The real increases on our public health costs have come from the private segment of it (drugs, etc.) and not from the public side.
His second moment of unconsciousness appears when he suggests we embrace new and innovative solutions like private-public partnerships. I don’t know what is new about this concept, it’s been around for close to 15 -20 years. It has showed itself to be badly flawed and more costly for taxpayers. The NB Auditor General has confirmed this and there are a number of very good books on this subject to consult.
His third moment of unconsciousness comes with the statement that the private sector is more efficient and more productive. Where was our writer in 2008 when the private sector plunged the world in an economic crisis. This alledgedly efficient private sector came cap in hand to ask us taxpayers to bail it out. Now that we paid up, he says we are in debt, we can’t afford public programs, we can’t afford a progressive tax system and we need to raise the HST. If the private sector is so efficient, why is that sector always in crisis.
I would suggest the writer have a lighter meal so when driving, he will be able to keep his wits and see the real picture along the way.