A recent, Toronto Star article by Martin Regg Cohn struck me as providing a very insightful example of the ethical choices facing health care leaders and stakeholders when advocating for their share of public funds. Cohn notes that ‘in a world of self-interest, it’s refreshing to see one group rise above its own narrow self interests to argue in favor of a traditional rival.’ Wouldn’t it be interesting to see how our publically funded health care system would address current challenges if greater numbers of organizations and individuals decided to rise above their own narrow self interests? What tradeoffs would be made to our health services to tackle the collective challenges of our generation, such as: funding constraints, timely access to necessary services, fragmentation of care, quality concerns, introducing new technologies …?
The article speaks to the critical interplay between enlightened government policies, boards and leaders at all levels when establishing the core values of the publically funded health system and its many stakeholders. In the 1960’s, publically funded health care was established in Canada as previous generations way of sharing responsibility and the costs of hospital and medical services despite very strong opposition by many proponents of self interest. In a world of self-interest will enough groups continue to rise above their own narrow self interests to make sure our health care services address current pressures and adapt as necessary long into the future? I hope so … for our children and grandchildren’s sake.