12.22.2011

the dirty truth we've been expecting: harper government takes the first step in destroying universal health care

So the Harper GovernmentTM finally uttered the words we've been expecting and dreading: health care.

We all know what they're up to. It's the standard reactionary playbook on public health care.

One, claim we can't afford to maintain publicly funded health care at the present levels.

Two, slash funding until the system becomes impossible to maintain.

Three, point to the system that they broke, and say, look, it's broken. Then dismantle it, probably by instituting a two-tier system, a privatized system for those who can afford it and a bare-minimum safety net for everyone else.

In other words, the Harper Government, in its usual stealthful fashion, wants to destroy what is left of the best of Canada.

But, according to this government, we can afford a massively expensive and useless crime bill, and fighter jets with a nearly unlimited price tag.

This is truly frightening.

Of course, it's not enough to be frightened. We have to be fighting, too. One big piece of the puzzle is already in place: 102 seats in Parliament occupied by the New Democrats, the government-in-waiting. The other piece is even more important: us.

Do we need a reminder of where this can lead?

A report has found that half of all people in the United States are living in poverty. This is calculated on the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which exists because the Official Poverty Measure hides tremendous numbers of people. This story in Salon does the math. Short version: it checks out.

The Detroit Free Press looked at the results of the housing foreclosure crisis - the direct result of deregulated banking, which still exists, and which left banks, lawyers and financiers counting their billions. The Michigan school systems now include 31,000 students who are homeless, a 37 percent increase over the previous year. And you know what? The US government, with Mr. Obama at the helm, is further cutting housing aid.

There are a handful of tangible differences between the United States and Canada, and those differences resonate deeply in the quality of life we enjoy here. Universal health insurance is tops on that list. We must be prepared to fight to protect it. We must constantly remind the party of Tommy Douglas what we expect from them - and that is not to become a slightly more progressive version of the Liberal Party.

My comrade Dr. J has fleshed this out further: "Bad medicine: Harper's prescription for privatizing Medicare". On the US situation, my partner Allan's recent post at maps and legends is sobering.

5 comments:

allan said...

45,000 people die every year in the US because of a lack of proper medical care. ... That's about 120 preventable deaths every single day.

It's the equivalent of fifteen 9/11 attacks every year. Year after year after year. Yet the US won't draw up an unlimited budget (several trillion dollars and counting) to keep those innocent people safe and alive.

Canadians should not let Harper take this country even one small step closer to the cruel mockery of health care that exists in the US.

anagory said...

Do you really think they're a government in waiting? I want to believe so. New Democrats rock.

laura k said...

Do you really think they're a government in waiting?

I know this:

- None of us know the future.

- No one anticipated the NDP getting 102 seats and forming the Official Opposition in the last election.

- Stephen Harper's CPC started out as the opposition.

- It is possible. That doesn't mean it will happen, but it is a possibility. Therefore, it is worth working and planning for such a possibility.

Student of the World said...

I've been lurking for awhile and I just wanted to say I love your article. I'm an American living in Canada thinking of permanently settling so these issues concern me.

This was a great thought provoking post.

laura k said...

Student of the World, welcome to wmtc, and thanks for your comment and feedback. I didn't think this post was much more than "this happened," so this it's good to know it resonated.

Are you in Canada as a student? If you don't mind me asking.