February 5, 2000
The notion that a "two-tier system" of healthcare is somehow unacceptable needs clarification:
What is unacceptable is a system where some citizens receive better treatment than others in public hospitals or public institutions.
What is unacceptable is public money spent un-equally across the province, inequitably among public institutions or distributed according to political aims.
However, what is acceptable is that people who can afford PRIVATE care are welcome to pay for it with their own money. This type of distinction has always been there, in healthcare, education and care for the aged. Would you prevent people who can afford it from flying south and pay for the services themselves? Would you prevent a family from taking care of their old-age parents at home?
Each person who can afford to pay for his own or his family's basic services removes some of the pressure from public institutions, thus reduces the necessity for higher taxes. It seems to me that this direction should be encouraged, not discouraged, by government. Government institutions could then do a better job focusing on those who are in need.
Public healthcare is a very touchy subject. However, the current discussion on whether to allow more private healthcare is a separate issue: a question of basic freedom.
The "two-tier" adjective has now become part of politically correct language. Beware.