On The Uses Of Family In The Pimping Of Private Healthcare

Am I wrong to find this Leader Post story kind of… how should I put it?… shameless?

Here it is in short: John Hopkins, CEO of the Regina Chamber of Commerce, is happy about private radiology clinics because the Radiology Associates of Regina detected a serious birth defect in his daughter and she was able to get a life-saving surgery. Here we are three years later and she’s fine.

Now, I may have written the odd thing here and there that has been critical of CEO Hopkins. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m really happy for him, his daughter and the rest of their family. I don’t even want to imagine how horrible this ordeal was for them and I’m glad the ending was happy.

But [deeeeeep breath] here are some of my problems with this article….

First off, I’ve learned since becoming a parent that most families have dealt with narrowly-avoided tragedies (or, and the number of these are thankfully much fewer, actual tragedies). I can’t count (and don’t want to) the number of people I know who have hospitals, clinics, help-lines, doctors, nurses, midwives, friends and family to thank for their children’s well-being.

But one thing none of these families have is the local paper’s newsroom on speed dial.

In other words, this story, however heartwarming or thought-provoking you may find it, isn’t news. And I’m left wondering how (and why) it wound up, with photo, on the L-P’s website. Most of us, whether our encounters with the healthcare system have been good, bad or just annoying, get to turn those experiences into covert op-eds in the local media.

I mean, consider that nowhere in this article is Hopkins thanking the public-funded, public-run hospital that performed the surgery on his daughter. No mention of how apparently his daughter didn’t have to go on a waiting list for this procedure but was instead taken immediately to where it could be done.

It’s all, “Thank god we have private radiology clinics.” And the implication is obvious: his daughter’s alive thanks to capitalism.

To be honest, I don’t know what in all this long article pisses me off the most…. Oh wait, yes I do. It’s this bit:

“The care that we received from Radiology Associates was second to none — they were outstanding and I’m sure we’ll continue to see that — whether it’s CT scans or MRIs,” he said referring to the provincial government’s plan to have a private clinic do publicly-funded CT scans in Regina by next year.

Hopkins is speaking out, not as the CEO of the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce, but as a grateful parent.

“The referrals will be the same as the current referrals, so there’s nothing that contravenes the Canada Health Act,” he said. “We’re actually putting the needs of the patient first. What a novel idea!”

A novel idea? How’s that novel? Oh, right. Because in the public system, they’re always putting the needs of the socialist state first and couldn’t give a fuck about patients.

Right.

How about those surgeons who saved your daughter’s life? Or the nurses and other hospital staff?

Thing is, John, even the administrators in the healthcare system care about patients and are putting their interests first. And their jobs would be a hell of a lot easier if they weren’t dealing with a healthcare crisis that’s been engineered by pro-corporate, conservative politicians who have spent the last few decades defunding the healthcare system while at the same time doling out tax cuts to placate lobbyists such as Canada’s many chambers of commerce.

So anyway, consider me skeptical of this claim that this is just one “grateful parent” innocently speaking out. However it’s dressed up, I suspect this is very much the voice of the business community advocating for private healthcare.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5’10” tall and he was born in a place. He’s not there now. He’s sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It’s “Girl From Ipanema”, thanks for asking.

You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

One thought on “On The Uses Of Family In The Pimping Of Private Healthcare”

  1. Am I wrong to find this Leader Post story kind of… how should I put it?… shameless?

    If so, you’re not the only one. And after two posts deconstructing the article I’m still not sure its depths have yet been fully plumbed – for example, what exactly makes Hopkins a “high profile Reginan” (as he’s described in the headline to lend weight to his story) other than the corporate connections that he tries to downplay?

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