Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Utopia (my version of the perfect health care system)

        Utopia, that imaginary place where everything is perfect.  I'm not talking about Thomas More's Utopia, his was a bit off, but what do you expect from a man living in 1500's?  Besides the poor guy was beheaded by Henry the Eighth.  Over the years other's have tried their hand at Utopia.  The communists came kind of close, other than the oppressiveness.  The problem is that human greed and the need for power always ruins everything.
    You may well be asking yourself what the heck this crazy woman is talking about, and is she wanting to be a communist?  The answer to both is no (although some may argue for the crazy part).  No I am tired of some of the aspects of our society.  I'm tired of the rich having everything and the poor having nothing. Yes some of it comes down to work ethic, absolutely, but some of it does not.  There is quickly becoming no middle class (that part of the economic demographic which for the second I belong to).  Our health care system is failing us, and we are allowing it to.  Our health care system was at one point the envy of the world.  Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy health.

        You may ask what this little rant is all about.  Christopher and I lay in bed the other night and were talking about our health and our health care system.  We were sharing our dismay that fruits and vegetables have become luxury items.  Never in my life did I think that I would see cauliflower cost nearly $5 a head, or heads of iceberg lettuce over $3 a head.  The price of beef is absurd, and out of the reach of most people.  2% milk costs $5 for 4 litres and yet you can often buy pop for $1 for 2 litres.  Honestly I am not sure how people can survive with the current cost of groceries.  How can people who are living hand to mouth able to provide for their families?
    Our health care system is broken.  In one respect I am very thankful that I live in Canada where we all pay into our healthcare system and everyone is able to access healthcare no matter their income without having to mortgage their homes.  I am grateful for our healthcare system and yet it is so flawed.  If you are in need of a doctor you can access one, but if you have no health insurance you cannot get the prescriptions that you need to make you better.  You break your leg and the cost of the cast and the doctor are covered, but you need to pay for your crutches and physiotherapy.  Oral health is linked to overall health and yet dentists are not covered, but the doctor is for your preventable heart attack.
    Here is my Utopia.  In my utopia healthy foods are subsidized by the government, if need be unhealthy foods could be at a greater cost.  Gym memberships and exercise programs can be accessed by everyone at no or very low cost.  Prescriptions and dentistry are included with our healthcare.  Just as cosmetic surgery is not covered by our OHIP system, cosmetic dentistry and non-health prescriptions (Viagra) would not be covered.  In my Utopia people could access message therapy or chiropractors once a week unless they medically required more.  Physiotherapy used to be in our OHIP as did visiting an optometrist in my Utopia they are included.  Mental health would be a priority, and people would be encouraged to seek out therapy and come out of the darkness they may be living in.   Mandatory four weeks of holidays would also be required and Sundays would once again be a day of rest.  I am not a religious person, I truly think that we should have one day to be at rest, to enjoy our families.
    As you are reading this you may be shaking your head at my vision of the perfect world.  The thing is that although we are very lucky to have the healthcare system that we have, it is not looking at the big picture.  If we invested in making people physically and mentally healthy then we would not need to invest as much money into hospital care.  People would not have heart attacks as often, there would be much less suicides, there would be less destructive health.  It is a statistical fact that people with money have better health that those living in the middle class and especially those living at or below the poverty line.  How can you possibly have good health when you are not able to eat properly?  How can you have good health when you are in a constant state of anxiety wondering if you can afford your child's insulin, or other drugs / therapies not covered by OHIP?  Stress creates hormones that create obesity and heart attacks.  Stress destroys physical and mental health.
    As a recap (with a few additions) my Utopia would be .....
More doctors and nurses.  Better hospitals with food being made at the hospital and not shipped in from who knows where.  Longer hospital stays when people need them.  All schools would have a lunch program provided by the province.  It would have locally grown foods and would include milk free of charge to every child.  Healthy food would be subsidized by the government to allow access to all.  Prescription drugs would be included in our health care as would mental health, dental, physiotherapy, optometry and glasses.  Mental health would be a priority.  Massage therapy and other alternative health practices would be covered.  Gym and pools would be free of charge to visit.  There would be a mandatory four weeks of vacation time for every Canadian and we would have a legally mandated Sunday (or another day of government's choosing) day off to recharge.
    This is a utopia, an imaginary world, and yet it does not need to be.  If we as a people invested in our physical and mental health we would have greater work productivity which would mean fewer days off of work.  We as a Canadian people would have greater health which would mean that we would not have to invest as much money into preventable illness.  In the end it would probably all break even with much happier healthier citizens.
   What do you think of my Utopia... discuss.