Opinion This morning I heard yet another propaganda piece on the TV news. The talking heads were reporting that the baby-boomers(those people born shortly after WW2) would be responsible for the collapse of our health care system. They referred to the aging population as the Silver Tsunami. Catchy isn't it?
Over the past few years I have been hearing increasing references to the coming health care crisis when people of my generation age and need medical care. Statistics abound about how much the old codgers will suck out of the system. This looks like a concerted effort to stigmatize and discriminate against the elderly.
The baby-boomer generation has paid and paid and paid into the health care system. The socialized medical system was set up after most had passed their critical fifth birthdays. This first five years of life being fraught with dangers. My mother, always worried about money, would wait to see if I was going to recover before taking me to get help. My badly broken wrist waited three days before a doctor saw it. I'm a big supporter of universal health care, knowing the suffering that ensues without it. We have been paying into the system since the beginning, during our healthy years and have a right to expect the system to help us when we need it. Governments who have squandered the money for health care should be targetted not the sick.
Having said that, the public generally seems to think that the elderly stop paying taxes to support various social systems and simply take, take, take. We have paid into various health insurance programmes and continue to pay. My husband and I are taking measures now to ensure that we won't be a burden on the system if we need long-term care in the future.
The BC health care system is in crisis now. Waiting lists for surgeries are long, hospitals are short-staffed, our local hospital is struggling with spread of disease within the hospital itself. These problems are not brought about by the elderly. My husband needed surgery due to an accident. The waiting line was over two years. We opted to pay for private surgery which cost us in the thousands. Timely surgery avoided a chronic condition which would have cost the system eventually. The accident was not age related.
Socialized medicine systems across Canada are in crisis now. Hard decisions will have to be made about who gets health care. It would be unthinkable to tell a new parent that their preemie baby with multiple health challenges should be allowed to die, why do we seem to be edging ever closer to thinking it's ok to let the elderly do so?