REF Speaks: “Fairness” is a concept that has been lost


By Robert Field

One word particularly stood out from New York Times article “What Did Bernie Sanders Learn in His Weekend in Canada?”

Yes there was the usual unimpeachable argument for a total reform to the United States extravagant and underperforming health service. To wit:

“Many developed countries have achieved universal health coverage, but Canada is relatively distinct in its insistence that individuals should not have to pay any money at the point of care. When Canadians go to the doctor or hospital, they just show their Canadian “Medicare” card.

“At Women’s College Hospital, executives showed Mr. Sanders an empty billing window. The hospital, they told him, has one employee who manages bills. “For the entire hospital?” Mr. Sanders said, in mock disbelief.

“Several patients told him about the comfort that comes from not having to pay for their care directly. And doctors, too, said they felt more comfortable recommending their patients get an operation or see a specialist than they might if those treatments weren’t free…”

But what particularly caught our eye was the following comment by a Canadian patient:

“I think it’s a really fair way to do it,” said Frederick Brownridge, 67, of Etobicoke, Ontario, as he sat by the window in his Toronto General Hospital room, with IV lines in his arms. Mr. Brownridge had had two heart valves repaired and a double bypass three days earlier. “It also means if you’re in a lower economic status or higher economic status, you’ll get the treatment you need.”

“Fairness” was a guiding concept during and following the Second World War. There was a sense of Americans all having equal rights (so long as they were White and male) and were not to use their wealth and influence to enrich themselves from the public trough.

Those who sought to do so were held in contempt.

That has long changed nationally and especially in Lancaster. Public service is out, greed is in… and the more, the greater the public respect. The conviction that we should deal fairly with one another, rich or poor, is gone.

Now those with wealth and power, like the Steinmans and the Highs, profit from legislation which enable bonds for their project to be sold predicated on repayment over the future from so called resulting added state tax revenue with the proceeds from the bonds gifted to them.  Oops excuse us, just recently there was a legislated exception that allows the families to benefit from added tax revenue their hotel generated also in the past.  This resulted in millions more of CRIZ gifts from future tax payers.

Like legislation that removed legal constraints on developing the Convention Center, modification of the CRIZ program ‘just happen’ to come about in a manner that de facto exclusively serves their interests.  What good luck!

Is it fair for the rich and upper middle class insured by government subsidized company health care insurance to get among the best care in the world while a large portion of our country persons receive health care (if any) rated at the bottom of industrialized nations?

Is it fair that our nation pays almost half again as much for health care because we have not followed the lead of all other advanced nations?

Is it fair that a couple of families should be allowed to enrich themselves at the expense of our children and grandchildren?

Apparently Americans in general and Lancastrians in particular don’t give a damn.   But in the long run, at least when it comes to health care, we do believe that Sander’s efforts will prevail.  (We have less optimism about Lancaster.)

Things will just have to get much worse before a waive of reformers will be elected to government and a new “New Deal” and  “Great Society”  will come about. Such needed reforms were the outgrowth of the Progressive Era, albeit there was a long delay before enacted, and reform will likely occur again at some future date.

Or so we pray.





Updated: November 5, 2017 — 8:14 am

1 Comment

  1. I agree that our system is unfair and believe the US will eventually with much chaos and disruption somehow finally evolve a national health system. I also believe it is essential to be open and honest what that system is likely to be like. You correctly quote the early statement that the Canadian system is distinctly unique but fail to mention the supplemental insurance mentioned later in the article and that 30% of the average Canadian’s expenditure on health is paid for out of the individuals pocket. Granted it is 30% of a more affordable number since health care is obscenely overpriced in the US but their costs are increasing in Canada and let’s be honest about the wait for “nonessential” care.

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Actual figure is close to 18%, not 38%. The system does not discriminate between those who can or cannot pay.

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