It's difficult, exhausting, at times heartbreaking. But caring for the sick and the dying is both an honor and a privilege. Compassionate people do so unselfishly and with love, often at their own economic expense. Compassionate societies participate too, however, the question of who should pay and what quality we should expect is always at issue.
Only one third of survey participants in the Canadian Medical Association's 10th Annual National Report Card on Health Care, released late in the summer, rated quality and choice of health care services at an "A" level in 2009; two thirds were dissatisfied with the cooperation between health professionals like doctors, pharmacists and nurses.
Certainly the future health care needs and costs of baby boomers are of great concern. Three quarters of the survey participants felt that more money was needed to provide the same level of health care we are rather dissatisfied with today. Yet, who should pay?
Forty percent thought the wealthiest boomers should pay more out of their own pockets, while another 40% felt all Canadians should pay more; which of course would point a double barrel of financial responsibility directed at affluent boomers! However 60% thought those who use the services should pay a user fee, something that might help deter those who misuse the privilege to be more careful with their health.
What's clear is that's important for a compassionate society to develop a sound strategic plan for the management of an inevitable, but challenging privilege: the care of vulnerable people who have contributed so much to the quality of life we have today.
We've found in our work in professional development of advisors that yes, it;s about the money. But more so, it's about the most effective way to reach the goal: playing out the strategy to enable choice and dignity, without risking the complete exhaustion of the caregivers.
Think about it. . .it's your money, your life. . .how would you want it to all play out?