Electing health – why voting is important for your wellbeing

It’s election time again! I won’t tell you whom you should vote for. But I will say whom you should NOT vote for. Don’t vote for any party that wants to cut support for health care or to get rid of “inefficiencies”.

I am a passionate supporter of OHIP. Don’t remind me that we are in a federal election and OHIP is provincial. I know. Provincial health programs depend on financing from the federal government. You also might be surprised that I, as a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), have such a positive view of OHIP.

Naturopaths are covered by the same law as medical doctors, but private insurance and private pockets pay our fees. Should OHIP cover us? Complicated. Keep reading.

First, why I’m a fan. OHIP covers emergency basics. A woman I know had her pelvis and upper thigh smashed in an accident that could have killed her. She was expected never to walk again. To the credit of months of surgery and receiving the rehabilitation she needed through our healthcare system, she was able to heal. These services were entirely covered by OHIP.

If my friend had been in the United States, she would have had to take out a second mortgage to cover her surgeries and the supplemental care. With the Canadian system she could go on to private physiotherapy, psychotherapy, osteopathy, and a wonderful therapy you may not have ever heard of called “Feldenkreis.” These practices helped nearly restore her full range of mobility. The most important factor was her own determination, but nothing would have been possible if OHIP had not picked up the bill on the emergency response.

Yet, all is not perfect. Naturopaths, who are not covered, often fix problems that medical doctors, who are fully covered, have not treated effectively. Does this not mean naturopaths should covered by OHIP? Ultimately, maybe, but consider: A big problem is that medical doctors are under way too much pressure to go fast. Ten-minute, “one symptom” visits are the government’s ideal (fortunately, often not complied with).

Encouraging doctors to rush as a cost-cutting measure is expensive because it is invites wrong diagnoses and prescriptions. If my fees were covered by OHIP, more people without private insurance would consult naturopaths. But if that meant I would be pressured to go fast, would I be able to fully use my expertise?

Remember: Illness is more expensive than health care. Don’t support any party more interested in cleaning up “inefficiencies” than increasing basic support for health insurance. Priorities for improvement? Dental. Rural communities. Indigeneous communities and nations. Above all, more
preventative services for everybody. Prevention is the truest “efficiency” if we want to cut costs, reduce illness, but not health care.

Comments or questions? Write to Nicole@IndividualCare.com. Nicole Constant is a registered Doctor of Naturopathy. Her website is: www.IndividualCare.ca. Her local Clinic reopens soon.

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