Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ugly Flames Moment

Just a quick post while I get my new desktop up and running today (upgrading to Windows 7 is posing problems - anyone else have issues?).

With the Senators having a week off and everyone fretting over the same issues (injuries, Kovalev, Melnyk going after Heatley), I don't have much to add that hasn't already been said by everyone else all week. With all the recent losses, you'd be tempted to hit the panic button but Cory Clouston has kept the fans and media at bay by praising his team's efforts and lamenting some bad breaks.

But without Spezza and Volchenkov, this team is going to be in tough to win on any night.

One non-Senator issue that did strike a chord with me today is the revelation that the Calgary Flames skipped the que for the swine flu shots in Alberta last week while little kids and pregnant women waited in line for days (and in some cases were turned away when the clinics closed over the weekend due to mass confusion).

This story hit home because a) I have a pregnant wife who has been anxiously awaiting her chance to get the shot, and b) I am a strident supporter of universal health care in Canada.

I don't blame the players for this because players just do what they're told. But Flames management should have known better.

Think of the optics: millionaire hockey players jump the line because they can afford private health care while kids, pregnant women and cancer patients wait outside in long lines, not even sure if there will be a vaccine waiting for them at the end.

Being able to access health care because of your financial clout is anathema to what Canada is all about. But Canadians have a long standing tradition of chastising "millionaire hockey players" and this story just feeds the monster, even though the players are innocent in all of this.

"It's a failure of leadership that we are providing vaccines willy-nilly to whoever has money, to whoever has access, when cancer patients, when chronic lung patients, when pregnant women and their children can't get it," said Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann.

"It's a violation of the basic principles of public health care."

Hard to disagree.


Andrew said...

It's a basic violation of human rights to restrict someone from paying for health care that they want/need.... but hey.... it's the sacred cow here in Canada, and we'll happily forced people to wait for sixteen+ months for procedures the government deems to be "elective" no matter how much pain the wait may cause.

Good on the Flames for jumping queues.... more of us should find a way to do it.

Anonymous said...

You think that is bad.. Our local area QMJHL team received their swine flu shots before anyone else in New Brunswick.. .. QMJHL..

Though honestly, it isn't really the Flames fault, they called the distributers and asked about getting shots, and they got shots.

I also have a pregnant wife, though not yet 20 weeks so not yet a priority, it really doesn't bother me

The Tif said...

1: I installed Windows 7 and didn't have any problems. Are you doing a clean install or an upgrade? If you can, reformat your machine and run everything from scratch. Its more work, but I found W7 just worked out of the box.

2: I don't like how the Flames jumped the line up, but I think there are bigger problems here. I think the government has handled the vaccine horrifically and they will learn from this, the same way they improved services following SARS. And to 8:04am - the QMJHL people got shots because the kid who died was a minor hockey player (amateur, not "pro"). As a result, they're vaccinating all youth, because they have physically demanding schedules with lots of contact with others.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it was good that they did receive vaccinations, just out today..


hambown said...

It's a basic violation of human rights to restrict someone from paying for health care that they want/need

Please tell me that you aren't claiming that it's a basic human right to buy health care. Consider the trouble that most people around the world have in getting proper access to health care. Then consider that you're claiming that the Flames players basic human rights would have been violated if they were told to wait for vaccination so that people who are most at risk of death if they contract H1N1 can be vaccinated first?

Here's a philosophical question: are people who value exercising the freedom to pay over increasing the risk of loss of human life really people?

Anonymous said...

The thing that bothers me about a debate like this is the way it is framed.

I think everyone should have equal access to health care. Like you Jeremy, I think that our health care system goes to the heart of what Canada is all about.

Growing up in Ottawa, I remember that when you got sick, you went to the doctor. I don't recall issues of queues, or long waiting lists.

What the Flames did is wrong, but I think that it is a symptom of a system that has cracks in it that need fixing.

The majority of Canadians want universal health care, yet the system gets worse. With technology today, there should be a way to identify priority people and schedule shots to avoid lineups.

As for Andrew's comment about waiting 16 months for a procedure. I agree with him as well. But, to me that indicates that the system is short of resources (either doctors, nurses, hospital beds, or drugs). We need more efficient use of resources.

Here's the kicker. I think that there is a group of people who have been purposefully trying to break the health care system for years. They do that by creating stress in the system.

Where's the outrage when they cut enrolment at medical schools in the early 90's. That meant less doctors today. Less docs mean more overworked docs, which means more docs who want to move to the US or want privatization in Canada. You need to develop more health care workers.

Drug companies are among the most profitable in the world. Regulate them more to get costs under control. They charge too much. They'll argue they need to charge a lot to fund new research. Bullshit. Most new drugs come from research that is taxpayer funded. Drug companies spend a ton of their so-called "research" budget on marketing and promo. Ask Melnyk, he should know, he used to work in the business.

People who work towards undermining the system need to be identified and held accountable.

I think that if, as citizens, we took as much interest in our health care system as our hockey teams, it would make a big difference.

Don said...

Andrew! You still living around the Blogosphere! Come on over to the BoO some time!

Anonymous said...

Human rights. Give your head a shake.

I have a daughter with special needs. CHEO advised us to get her vaccinated.

(We weren't going to because she's 6, and we thought other kids, younger, could use it more than her.)

We went to the clinic. No bands left. CHEO is now opening a special clinic for special needs kids. So she'll be taken care of.

And now you think "paying" people should get it?

So Calgary Flames, and the Leafs, etc are worth more than my daughter?

Shit disturber you are. And I would guess a tad ignorant too.

I hope you are now giving your head a thorough shake.

Count your blessings that you have access to Health care in Canada.

From what I hear people in the Ukraine are having a much harder time.

Rant over.