FTLComm - Tisdale - January 28, 2000
By: Timothy W. Shire
I have always wished that we could obtain the sort of kind considerate and competent service for our bodies that we can get for our cars. With five excellent car maintenance shops in Tisdale, about once a month, owners can have the fluids checked and changed, the whole machine checked over for safety and possible mechanical problems, all for under fifty dollars. There are no waiting room waits and the process can take as little as twenty minutes. The workmanship is thorough and all of the people who do the work are trained and experienced.

Just imagine if you could, what a utopian world we would have, if we could get the same kind of service and attention on ourselves that we can get for our cars. After the mechanic has done the work on your vehicle he will go over the bill explaining what he did and point out the possible concerns he has about possible problems.
The most important thing about this service is that he will do that in a friendly and concerned manner. He will take time to spend with you as you voice your concerns and listening to worries you might have.

If you think back to your last visit to a doctor or hospital and compare the level of service and attention, you will realise that some how we need to consider the garage model for personal health care. When Tommy Douglas and his supporters set out to develop Medicare in Saskatchewan they did so following the garage model. The cost of major repairs or even maintenance on the human body could mean that people would not seek medical help and that was tragic. Medicare was to allow everyone, to get the best health care available, universal health care for everyone. When the programme was developed there was no intention to "control" the process but rather to find a way to pay for it.

I can recall in the years approaching the final implementation of the programme that my Uncle Karl and my father would debate the issue and one glaring factor seemed to loom. Once universal health care was established, would government attempt to interfere in the operation and delivery of service. It was decided at our dinner table in 1961 that indeed we were all one day, going to be in trouble, because at some point in the future, the government would decide this or that was to expensive and would ultimately reach the point that decisions would be made in Regina that would in effect, condemn some people to death.
The Christmas deaths in Weyburn and Battleford were what my uncle and father were talking about, imagine the state of things when an Intensive Care Unit in a city would be closed for a holiday.

If district Carecar boards were established throughout the province to administer garages, deciding which should be closed and which should have limited service, where special equipment were restricted in use on holidays, and mechanics and mechanic helpers were reduced in numbers, their training programmes altered to compensate for shortages and they are legislated back to work when they go on strike because of bad working conditions. I think it would be pretty clear that automotive maintenance and safety would be seriously compromised.

Fortunately, for our safety and to our benefits, the cost of car maintenance has not gotten beyond the average owner's reach and also fortunately, most of us only own a vehicle for three to five years so its limited lifetime in comparison with our own is much shorter. With a car, when its life is endanger, we can simply replace it, this in not the situation with our health.

In our own personal maintenance programme, we are now about to see the automotive model imposed on us. You folks with diabetes and cancer, tough luck, but we can't afford to look after you, make out your wills. If you live out in the sticks, tough luck, its to costly to provide you with health care, see your doctor about getting suicide pills in case you are injured or suffering. Your wife or child gets sick, it is just unfortunate, you will simple have to re-plan things and look for a replacement.

If you think that this is satirical and absurd think again, because with government no longer is just "paying" for medical care, but now in "charge" of the service. Politicians, including the present minister of health, have openly discussed the idea that we have to reexamine what we do with health care and can not do everything for everybody. At this point SGI is not taking custody of those people who are being written off but such is the present mentality and casual attitude about human life.

More and more money is being spend on health care while service is being drastically reduced at the same rate. More and more money is spent on less and less and the same people who have created this destruction of the system are still in charge of it finishing off their work, laying waste to what was once a remarkable system. They have closed hospitals everywhere, people have been laid off all to save money but the result has been to cost more, not just in inconvenience and lack of service, but to actually lay out more money each year. Every effort to cut costs has resulted in greater expenditures.

If this system were applied to your local service station the mechanic would remove the tires from your car so that you could save money on having to replace them, in addition you would save money on gasoline expenditures as the car would not be operable, but you would have to pay him for storage of the nonfunctioning car, and spend more money to move your self about, while still keeping up payments on your car and paying for insurance. The decision to take off the tires saves you $400 for replacing them with new ones while the storage for your car will be $50 a month plus your added costs for getting around without your car. The cost of this $400 saving would be about $6000 annually.

I know that sounds silly, but that is precisely what has been done with the closed hospitals, only those costs have been in millions, not thousands. You the tax payer have been responsible for footing the bill to close fifty-four hospitals and the result is that you have save nothing whatever because the cost of medical care has risen from 33% of the provincial budget to 40% of the provincial budget since they were closed. If this makes sense to you, then it is clear you are getting what you deserve. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.