Letters Dec. 1: Private vs. public health care; gas-powered lawn equipment

Privatized health care would drain system

Re: “Case is about doctors’ profits: federal lawyer,” Nov. 26.

I’m a firm believer that the highest quality health care should be available to all Canadians. No one person should be able to get better care because they are richer than others among us.

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Cambie Surgery Centre CEO Brian Day is draining our collective tax coffers with his endless court cases attempting to destroy our health-care system for pure greed. None of the folks he claims he would help would likely be able to afford his clinic. Universal health care, pharmacare and dental care is what Canadians need now. If he wins, privatized health care will drain the resources of the public system and those most in need will suffer.

Sue Stroud
Brentwood Bay

Don’t allow corporations to take health resources

Re: “Case is about doctors’ profits: federal lawyer,” Nov. 26.

As closing statements in the Cambie Surgery Centre case continue, I think we can all agree that the public health-care system needs significant improvement. We won’t be able to do so if corporations take resources from the system and then charge patients extra to be seen sooner.

It is imperative that the facts be presented to the public about this case, not just a simulacrum. The key point that seems to be missing in reporting is that Cambie Surgeries wants to be able to charge patients and at the same time bill the public health-care system. This is wrong.

Alison Malis

Private health care won’t solve anything

In the Cambie Surgery Centre case, a corporation is arguing for the right to charge as much as they want, while also getting subsidized by the public system.

Subsidizing private interests will not address issues with our system. The best way we can improve the public health-care system is with positive public solutions.

All health-care systems, no matter their structure, are currently in trouble around the world. This is due to a combination of factors — many difficult to control. Health-care costs are rising greatly due to the costs of advanced research and salaries of well-educated medical professionals.

Longevity is increasing in most nations, which leads to more patients of advanced age with multiple serious health conditions. And sadly, many people from wealthy nations suffer from health conditions brought on by poor lifestyle choices.

At the same time the world still experiences war, new infections and inadequate medical care and the citizens of those countries are increasingly immigrating to other countries in search of a better life, including better health care.

There is no easy answer. The Canadian government has greatly increased the amount of money it sends to the provinces for health care, but where does it go? Waiting times, in general, do not seem to be getting shorter. More and more cities, towns, and rural areas of the country are experiencing doctor shortages. The system needs to be improving by rethinking many areas.

The last thing we need to do is reintroduce a private health-care system. This will enrich a few physicians, at the expense of the rest of Canadians. Shame on these “hypocritical oath” doctors

Leanne Jarrett

Public solutions reduce wait times for everyone

The Cambie Surgery Centre case has focused heavily on the issue of wait times for medically necessary health care. This is an important issue that requires bold, evidence-based solutions.

CEO Brian Day is not offering any real solutions to wait times — in fact, a win for Cambie would only make the issue worse for all but the wealthiest in our society.

The evidence shows public solutions are the most effective way to improve wait times. For example, the B.C. government has significantly reduced wait times for MRIs, including by as much as 66 per cent in parts of the province, by increasing MRI scan capacity.

Other simple solutions, such as centralized waitlists and the first-available-surgeon option, are also effective in reducing wait times. These solutions are efficient and improve health care for everyone, instead of just the privileged few.

Mark Axel Johnson

Don’t go down U.S. path with health care

I came to Canada from the U.S. in 1968, fresh out of university, at a point where I was just having to start worrying about acquiring my own health insurance and figuring out how to pay for medical bills.

Fortunately, within months of my arrival, legislation creating public health care in this country passed and was implemented. But I already knew enough about the cost of private health care in the U.S. to know how blessed I was to have landed in a country where health care was not about profits, but about ensuring everyone gets quality care based on need.

In the ensuing years, I’ve heard plenty of private-health-care horror from U.S. friends and relatives, growing my conviction that private health care is not something I want in my life. Indeed, public health care was one of the non-negotiables in my deciding to remain permanently in Canada.

Today, we have a court case being decided in B.C. that could affect the ability of all Canadians to continue to enjoy the single-payer publicly funded health-care system that we have enjoyed for half a century.

A corporation, Cambie Surgery Centre, is arguing for the right to charge as much as they want, while also getting subsidized by the public system. If they win, most Canadians will have to wait longer for care; for-profit, privatized care will drain resources from the public system, leaving the rest of us with longer wait times and declining care.

The beauty of publicly funded health care is that everyone is taken care of when needed, regardless of whether they are rich enough to pay. This is the kind of provision civilized societies make for their citizens.

Katherine Maas

Battery-powered machines effective

I decided I didn’t like my old gas lawn mower and got a battery-powered one. It is a lot quieter, although not quite as powerful as the gas ones (but good enough).

I also bought a hedge trimmer and weed whacker all powered from the same battery packs. Same thing — quiet. I have considered buying a certain electric leaf blower and the reviews are good. Certainly it’s a lot quieter than the gas ones. I ended up raking leaves out of the flower beds, then used the electric mower to suck up and mulch the leaves for next year’s garden mulch. Solved — don’t need a leaf blower.

Donn Hilton

Raking is much better for lawn grass

Reducing air and noise pollution within our present society will be very challenging without government intervention, as the vast majority of people are reluctant to give up creature comforts and convenience for the sake of future generations. Case in point: the dreaded gas-powered leaf blower.

Hand raking a lawn is superior to blowing the leaves for several reasons. Previous letters have already addressed the potential personal health benefits, but there are also benefits to the grass itself. Raking loosens and removes underlying thatch, which stimulates grass growth as well as removing fallen debris from nearby trees, such as cones and twigs.

Interestingly, “professional landscapers” who criticize banning gas-powered leaf blowers, and suggest battery operated ones are not powerful enough and hand raking is too labour intensive, conveniently omit to mention the option of utilizing corded 110v electric blowers. These corded electric machines are quite effective in accomplishing the task in a much more environmentally friendly manner and with a greatly reduce noise signature.

This is a classic case where government should do the right thing and govern by providing an adequate time window to allow conversion to alternative enviro-friendly methods of leaf removal.

Wayne Neumann

Time to invest in eco-friendly equipment

Re: “Please don’t ban gas leaf blowers,” letter, Nov. 26.

Surely a company’s financial costs are not the only costs to be considered here.

What about the cost of burning carbon to all living things? The mental-health costs of those who have to listen to this all-out warfare from sunrise to sunset?

The cost of lost topsoil from the super-powerful winds your blowers emit?

The cost to our landscapes in lost microbes and insects from the excessive hot air they blow?

You’re not paying for any of these costs, yet you say carrying fully charged batteries in your truck is not cost-effective.

It’s no longer acceptable to consider only the financial implications of our behaviours. As of yesterday, we humans must factor triple-bottom-line accounting into business decisions. I talk regularly to our 20-something-year-old children about being prepared for changes to their careers as climate change unfolds. If you’re a gas-powered landscaper in Victoria, you should also be thinking along these lines.

Look at this as an opportunity. Get ahead of the curve. Invest in eco-friendly equipment. Charge a little more and serve the customers who want to go green.

Dave Secco

‘Affordable’ housing isn’t exactly cheap

Victoria’s city council is deceiving the residents of Victoria by continually mentioning the word “affordable” when it comes to providing developers permission to violate official community plans.

The majority of units built and proposed for Victoria should not be considered affordable even by the “average” resident of Victoria. The Fairfield Hotel, for example, now scheduled to be closed, was affordable. Residents paid an average monthly rent of $420.

Every unit built under the current city council’s auspices is only affordable to a very small minority of residents. Most people in Victoria, for example, wouldn’t be able to afford the $700,000 townhouse units approved by city council.

Rey Carr

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