Why I Support Canadian Doctors for Medicare

A couple of weeks ago I started making small monthly contributions to Canadian Doctors for Medicare (CDFM).

I don’t agree with everything that they say and do but on the other hand I can’t think of a single group to which I belong that could meet that standard anyway. I tend to have some funny ideas and I’ve given up looking for Canadian Doctors Who Think Like Scott. If such a group existed, they likely wouldn’t have me as a member anyway. Sorry Groucho.

I support CDFM because they try to help patients just like the ones in my practice.

I work in Stoney Creek. When I first started practice, I had lots of steelworkers and their families in my practice. I had lots of farm families too. But Hamilton and Stoney Creek have changed. The well-paying manufacturing jobs are disappearing and are being replaced by less well-paying service jobs. Fewer people have benefits.

I shudder when a waitress or a truck driver in my practice is diagnosed with diabetes. I know that some of them will not be able to afford the medications that they will need to prevent serious complications.

Canadian Doctors for Medicare stands up for people in that situation.

I also have a personal reason to support CDFM. I grew up in a working class family. My father was a very hard-working tradesman at Bell. He worked 6 days a week and took all of the evening overtime he could get. I knew that when it rained, he would be out all night fixing ‘wets’. My mother stayed home and there were 5 kids in my family.

We were not poor by any stretch of the imagination. We weren’t part of the working poor either. But in the 60’s, before medicare, my parents thought twice before taking one of us to the doctor’s office. And forget about the emergency room. If you were awake and could walk, you didn’t need a doctor.

The arrival of medicare helped my family out enormously.

I was reminded of that this week when an acquaintance of mine, in her late 70s, refused to go to the hospital even though she had severe diarrhea and had nothing to drink for a week. She would not listen to my advice and I was on the verge of picking her up and carrying her to the ED when she finally relented. She was severely dehydrated.

She was given three litres of fluids and sent home. “See I wasted eveyone’s time. I should never have gone to the hospital.”

This was a person who grew up in an era when one didn’t go to see the doctor or go to the hospital until it was too late.

We need medicare because people like my friend should not have to think twice about getting help.

Some people may argue that we can have two parallel systems. A medicare system and a second option outside of medicare. Others will argue that the private system will always be better funded and will rob resources from medicare.

I’m just glad that there is a group out there fighting for my patients.

Scott Douglas Wooder, MD


4 thoughts on “Why I Support Canadian Doctors for Medicare”

  1. Scott, I am a firm believer in private and public health care while Cdn Doctors for Medicare believe only in public health care. There are advantages and disadvantages to both system. That is why I believe we should have a hybrid system as in many European countries. I have never met a physician who does not want a public safety net. I do not want anyone to go broke to pay for their healthcare. That does not mean that every dollar of health care should come from government.

    I am not from a wealthy background. My parents came to Canada with nothing. I worked alongside them from the age of 5 in a tiny family grocery store. I remember going to the doctor but not how my parents paid except once. I do remember one time when my mother went to an opted-out physician in the 1970’s and I could see how proud she was to pay the doctor out the money she had earned by her own labour.

    I repeat that I am all for a social safety net but first dollar care for everyone’s health is fiscally impossible and trying to do it has brought our quality of care down.


  2. Scott, thank you for this post. There’s so much work to be done to improve Medicare. It’s so encouraging to see a a senior leader like you join CDM, and bring values and evidence to health system reform.


  3. Thank you for this post Dr Wooder. As a student, I came into medicine because I wanted to improve the lives of others. Within my first few months in medical school, I quickly grasped the primacy of system level factors, notably the overwhelming barriers in access to medically necessary drugs. Yet, I was also baffled with what seemed to be a medical culture that put self-interest above the wellbeing of patients. This is why I was drawn to the work of Canadian Doctors for Medicare and joined the organization. And this is why I am relieved to see a leader such as yourself according value to these principles. Thank you!


  4. Interesting post.

    Briefly, support for our current system as designed is not necessary for nor does it equate to support for universality of coverage, yet the two are often conflated.

    CDM by definition constrains itself to a limited view of potential health system reform. This world view has shockingly little if any evidence to support its ideology. As pointed out by others, every major Western European health system has private and public financing of physician and hospital services. Each additionally has universal coverage, generally better access to care, and equal to better population level outcomes. Despite some extraordinary minds in its leadership, I have yet to see any evidence provided for its stance that physician/hospital services (and now drugs) should be exclusively publicly financed.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s