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Letter: Throwing more cash at health care is no solution

I read Lorraine Michael’s health-care recommendations (more money is needed) in the Dec. 30 edition of The Telegram (“Newfoundland and Labrador’s NDP building through 2018: Michael”) with the disdain it deserves.

That solution has been tried with Paul Martin’s 2004 six per cent annual increase over 10 years and extended by another three by Stephen Harper and — surprise, surprise — the vast majority of the money was spent on wage increases and new layers of bureaucracy. This agreement gave the provinces a 113 per cent increase in federal transfers and all we have to show for it is a larger bureaucracy with a fatter wage package. To suggest that still more money in the future will somehow solve a problem that more money in the past failed to solve serves to illustrate how out of touch Lorraine Michael is with reality, and I fear the same holds true with most of our MHAs.

A recent book by Donald J. Savoie, "What is Government Good At? A Canadian Answer,” concluded that government is good increasing its headcount and accompanying budget allotment, and blaming other people for its failures and shortcomings. One need only look at our provincial health-care system to see evidence of that conclusion. More administrators and higher wages to health-care workers appears to have had precious little effect on the product being delivered.

Some hard decisions need to be made on how health care is being delivered in our province, and so far I have seen a disappointing lack of courage on making these decisions from both our elected officials and our overpaid bureaucrats. A recent truth voiced by a Department of Health official was soon turned into a rapid climb-down as soon as he ran into some union criticism.

If this is an example of the leadership we can expect, we may as well call in the bankruptcy trustees now.

Incidentally, I have a copy of Donald Savoie’s book should any of our provincial bureaucrats or MHAs wish to borrow it. I’m in the phone book.

Barry Imhoff
St. John’s

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