Thursday, May 12, 2011

To the People of Canada, from Christopher Munroe, Minister of Health

People of Canada:

As those of you who follow my Twitter feed already know, the Conservative majority government of Stephen Harper has recently appointed me Canada’s new Minister of Health. An as yet unselected MP in a politically safe riding will be stepping down to accommodate my election in the near future, that I might begin my tenure in the position immediately.

Many have, upon hearing this news, commented upon a) the fact that in the 3 hours since the appointment to the position I have been paid $16 million by various, primarily American, private insurance companies, and b) the fact that I am an amoral sociopath. They have attempted to suggest that one or both of these things ought disqualify me from the position, but in reality nothing could be further from the truth, these admittedly true points leave me in a unique position to save Canada’s healthcare system, and I would like, if I may, to take a moment to explain why.

With regard to point a), the suggestion that I have been accepting bribes from US insurance conglomerates who expect me to undermine Canada’s healthcare system from within is ridiculous on it’s face. I have simply been appointed to the board of directors of a number of insurance concerns, and the $16 million is payment for the work I am doing in that capacity. It’s all above board and legal, as my lawyers have proved. Or will, if they ever allow the matter to get to court. In fact, I would suggest that my position within so many medical insurance firms gives me a unique perspective on the healthcare industry, and my experience with healthcare should be taken as a positive, not a negative, when my recommendations regarding Canada’s healthcare system are made.

The fact that I have, as of this writing, only 12 hours such experience should be disregarded completely.

As far as point b) goes, I’d like to direct your attention to the difference between “immoral” and “amoral”. I am not an evil man, simply a man who does not allow morality to influence his decision-making processes in any way. It’s this ruthlessness that will allow me to make tough decisions regarding healthcare solutions for Canada, and again, I would urge you to consider my amorality a strength in the position, rather than a negative.

Because, truly, friends, our healthcare system is in crisis, and tough decisions need be made.

In the 12 hours since my appointment to the position of Health Minister, I’ve had a lot of time to focus on the problems facing Canadian healthcare. Specifically, I’ve had 12 hours. And in this time, I believe I have identified the biggest danger facing our treasured system to date. It’s a sizable problem, to be sure, but one that we, as a nation, can overcome, as we’ve overcome so many problems in the past. I believe in our ability as a country to overcome any adversity through ingenuity, creativity and hard work, and I believe these are qualities we possess in abundance. For this reason I know in my heart we can work together to solve the greatest problem healthcare in Canada has ever faced.

The nature of this problem? Put simply: Canadians.

Yes, filthy, needy Canadians, each misguidedly believing that healthcare is a basic human right and that elected governments in the developed world have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their citizens. These disgusting, sup-human pieces of filth believe that people should be allowed to see doctors for no reason other than the fact that they’re sick or injured, and it is they who stand in the way of private industry streamlining Canadian healthcare, and allowing for-profit insurance to forever alter the way healthcare in this great nation is delivered. This is the primary obstacle that must be overcome, however this will be no easy task.

Sadly, these “Canadians” vote in Canadian elections, and they vote in large numbers. In this most recent election, for example, close to 100% of voters self-identified as Canadians. Due to this unfortunate fact, previous governments have lacked the courage to save Canadian healthcare through privatization and entrepreneurship, as they have feared the electoral repercussions of the tough decisions that surely must be made. I, fortunately, am unlike previous leaders this country has known. I am more fearless in my persuit of what I know to be right, I am an amoral sociopath, and I am willing to save Canadian healthcare from Canadians regardless of how it affects my personal political fortunes. Should this end my career, so be it, and I will take comfort in the knowledge that I have helped fight the scourge of socialized medicine.

And $16 million in payments and stock options from private health insurance companies. I’ll take comfort in that as well.

In my selflessness, I have determined a course of action that will effectively end-run Canadian voters in my quest to save Canada. It’s a simple proposal, based on the model that’s already been used to great success in Alberta, and I believe that if it is applied properly in a broad, national program, it will have the same success. The specifics of my proposal are as follows.

a) Lower taxes. This should be the easiest part to implement, as nobody likes to pay taxes. Oh, everyone knows that taxes are necessary to a functioning government, but most are willing to overlook this basic fact of economics when there’s a few bucks in it for them. A modest tax rebate for everyone, and billions in giveaways for our wealthiest citizens and corporations ought to do it, though in a pinch the modest tax rebate for everyone can be eliminated. This will lead to…
b) Economic crisis. With insufficient tax revenue coming in, the national deficit will explode, and the debt will spiral out of control. Consensus will swiftly develop that something must be done about this debt before the country bankrupts itself, and this opportunity can be used to…
c) Close hospitals. Nobody wants to see hospitals closed, however in tough economic times budget cuts must be made, and a slim majority of the people of Canada can be brought around to this way of thinking. We’ll explain that this is a temporary measure, though no mention of the hospitals ever opening again will be made, and once the hospitals are closed, we’ll start seeing the inevitable consequences.
d) The inevitable consequences. With fewer hospitals in Canada, wait times to see doctors will naturally grow longer, and in some cases patients will die. These cases will receive enormous media attention, naturally, and we will take heat politically. However, if we’ve done our jobs properly, we will already have created an atmosphere where taxation is unthinkable and the closure of hospitals, while unfortunate, will be considered a necessary evil. Eventually, the wait times and occasional death will be considered normal, at which point we will begin to see…
e) The erosion of faith in Canada’s system of socialized medicine. The longer people wait to see a doctor, and the more people who die en route to hospitals, the less firm voter support for Canadian health care as it’s currently constituted will be.

It is at this point that serious people can finally begin serious discussions of healthcare reform. This process will not be a short one, I am the first to admit this. Alberta has been working at this for close to thirty years and they’re only now working fully into part e) of the process, but I know in my heart that together, with enough commitment and dedication, enough tax cuts and hospital closures, we can make this happen. My proposal has been worked on by some of the brightest private insurance lobbyists I can use taxpayer dollars to employ, it’s details are brilliant in their simplicity, and if we see this plan through to the bitter end I know it will succeed.

And can we in good conscience do any less? Canadian healthcare has been a disaster for more than 40 years, and government after government have been too afraid of the will of greedy voters to do anything about it. But now, with a solid Conservative majority under the leadership of Mr. Harper, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we cannot allow it to pass us by. Don’t let the fact that this is a long term proposal fool you, this is a crisis and we must act immediately. Canada must act swiftly and decisively, for doing so is the only way we can save Canadian healthcare from the Canadians who would try to use it.

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