October 26, 2011

Justice Emmett Hall - Architect of Canada's Health Care system.

With the amount of routine trashing the Canadian Health Care system has received at the hands of their corrupt and greedy neighbors to the south, you'd think a typical day at an average Canadian hospital would be scenes of battled scarred triage. Walls spattered with blood, patients screaming in hallways - waiting rooms littered with corpses.

Well . . that's the picture the health insurance lobbies would like you to see. The reality is something of a different picture. And reason the Canadian healthcare system has achieved its level of success is due in no small part to the crusading efforts of Canadian Supreme Court Justice Emmett Hall.

It was Hall whose Commission on National Health Care arrived at the conclusion in 1961 that the Canadian Health Care System was in dire need of overhaul and implemented a series of changes by which all Canadian citizens be entitled to decent health care.

Needless to say, the CMA (the Canadian AMA) and the drug companies did their level best to paint pictures of horror and endless lines and three year waits to see unfamiliar doctors - all which proved to be untrue.

In 1964, as Hall's report was released and while the Health Care Plan was being discussed, the CBC as part of it's Farm Forum Radio Program ran an interview with Hall where he discussed the then-current state of Medical care in Canada.

Justice Emmett Hall: “From the humanitarian standpoint there is, we believe, an obligation on society to be concerned with the health of its individuals. But on the economic side, investments in health are investments in human capital, just as investments in engines and railroads are investments in capital, so are investments in health. And they payoff, in the economic field, and they pay great dividends to a nation that looks after the health of its people. What we say is that society has an obligation to assist the individual to accomplish that which he by his own efforts cannot attain.”

And almost 50 years on, the system is still working.

Which is more than we can say for the Health Care System just to the south of them. Can't we?

Here is the Farm Forum Program as originally aired over the CBC Radio Network on November 2, 1964.

Incidentally, there is a wealth of historic information about this subject and a bunch of others at the CBC Digital Archives. I would urge you to go over there, check it out and bookmark it.

You can never be too well informed. Not these days, anyway.

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