Originally published as a column in NewsKamloops

For a few days now my little guy has been going to bed after using the puffer. Mornings start with the same device. He’s a soldier that way and though the wheezing is audible enough to make me cringe, he says it’s fine and tries to do it without the puffer as much as possible.

We’ll meet with a specialist next week and hopefully solve some of the puzzle that’s been plaguing our lives lately as to which allergen is causing the trouble. It took a couple of months to get the appointment and we’re grateful that the wait has not been longer.

It’s been a while since our last visit to the emergency room and when it happened we had nothing but good things to say about the ambulance crew and the hospital staff that attended to my barely breathing son. The emotional price we paid was immense yet the financial one barely anything (we paid the fee for the ambulance service).

Anyone in Canada who’s been in an emergency situation, or suffers from a health issue that requires prolonged medical care knows one thing: you do not have to worry about the bill that will take years to pay if at all.

The lack of family doctors in Kamloops and other areas in BC is a sad state of affairs, yet the system is still not as bad as it could be should it become privatized. If you’re aware of the court case that made its debut in Vancouver a few days ago regarding the possible privatization of the healthcare in BC and eventually the whole Canada.

While most people whose children are encountering chronic health issues can attest that they would not hesitate to sell the coat off their back and more in order to pay for the best medical care, that is barely the point here. In fact, that is not the point.

The court case is not about a choice that should be made between the present system and a privatized one. It is about changing the system that put Canada on the map of countries who take care of their citizens health-wise, without charging an arm and a leg. That improvements can be made to the current system is true. There is room for better.

Yet what Brian Day, MD, is calling for is not it. For profit healthcare just like for profit education (university level) defeats the noble purpose such endeavours start out with. It is bad enough that money gets in the way of learning, or that conflicts of interests are often plaguing higher education when big companies doing controversial or disputed business in the community pay part of their acceptance with ‘gifts’ to learning institutions.

People can still find options. Healthcare is a different matter altogether. A matter of life and death one could say and it would not be exaggerated. Should our system change (let’s hope our judicial system will maintain a backbone on this one) we will see a lot of people falling through the cracks due to financial difficulty or less than ideal medical care because of the influx of doctors and nurses to the better paying side which is private care.

That someone who has once taken the Hippocratic oath pledging to not harm and cause hurt, to live an exemplary life and take into consideration the benefit of the patient first of all, is capable of taking the health care system to court in order to transform the profession into a business that will allow those in the higher financial tiers access to good medical care, while the ones less advantaged will take one for the team, is unthinkable.

We should all talk about this, understand the reality of a privatized health care and make enough noise to let those with the power of decision know that the actual final decision should be the result of all Canadians speaking up and standing for what is right for everyone.

Start a conversation today, read about what led to this court case to take place and why privatized healthcare is un-Canadian and unethical. Decisions can only be made if we’re educated enough and we have enough information available to do so. Standing up for what’s right has never been more important. Yes, our lives depend on it and we ought to act on it. Write to those who can act on your behalf, talk to people and spread the word. Every one of these matters more than you can imagine.

Please visit www.savemedicare.ca for more information.