legault

Universal is an unambiguous and definitive term. It means something affecting, or done by all people or things in the world or in a particular group; applicable to all cases.

In the case of Canada’s health care, the term universal is used in reference to coverage. It means all Canadians are to be covered fully for health care, no matter what their circumstances. None should pay more or less than others for care. There are no exceptions. If there is even one exception in coverage for a Canadian citizen under the Health Act, we will no longer have a universal health care system.

If Quebec Premier Francois Legault has it his way, universal health care in Canada will come to an end.

Legault is blaming the unvaccinated for pressures on Quebec’s health care system right now. It’s hardly a surprise. Unvaccinated people are the minority most discriminated against in all of Canada right now. Leaders can do anything to them and the docile public will accept it. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called unvaccinated people racists, misogynists, and extremists with no repercussions. It’s hardly shocking somebody like Legault feels emboldened enough to start taking money from the unvaccinated through “health taxes.”

Whether vaccinated people put more pressure on the health system or not is irrelevant if a system is to be universal. What Legault’s doing is charging one group an extra amount over another, ostensibly in order to cover health treatment. Labeling it a tax rather than a fee or a fine for not being vaccinated doesn’t change the fact this alters the entire premise of a universal health care system. The premier of Quebec is proposing punishing people who are refusing a medical procedure by taking their money. People will no longer be equal in the system.

If this odious plan to punish the unvaccinated does manage to remain in place, it opens the door for all sorts of new taxes upon people for health irresponsibility. How far do we want to go in punishing people who do things that put more pressure upon the health care system than others?

Obesity is the first condition coming to mind. There’s no denying obesity contributes to a number of health conditions which in turn lead to more costs within the system. Heart disease, lung issues, and complications during medical procedures are all more acute within obese people. Obesity is among the main comorbidities among people who find themselves in the ICU due to COVID-19. Obesity is something manageable for a person, though it’s tougher for some than others. Does it not make sense to tax people whose body mass index is above the ideal, healthy level? Perhaps a few bucks a pound every month until they lose extra weight — a fat tax, if you will. It’s for the greater good right?

How about smokers? They pay a massive amount of tax on their cigarettes already, but a health tax is only appropriate on top of that.

Drinkers? Same thing.

What about skiers and people who do contact sports? There are many exercises with health benefits that don’t lead to higher chances of broken bones and concussions as those aforementioned sports do. Those folks should pay health taxes as well.

Such a list of people who disproportionately burden the health care system wouldn’t be complete without mentioning senior citizens. Seniors take up the vast majority of health care resources while making up a minority of the population. Is that fair? How dare they live so long! It’s only right that we tax a portion of their pensions to make sure they pay their fair share.

I think I’ve gone on enough to have made my point. The examples are myriad and virtually nobody would be immune from some sort of tax or another if we started trying to punish every possible unhealthy or dangerous activity.

We know some people put more burden upon the health care system than others. We know some people find themselves in hospital at times for completely irresponsible behaviour which could have been avoided. We accept that though because we know it comes with having a universal health care system.

You can’t chip away and cherry-pick. A system is either universal or it isn’t.

I’m not opposed to personal accountability at all. If Legault succeeds and manages to shatter the Canada Health Act, I am certain many private insurance providers will happily rush in to fill the void. Private insurers will of course have conditions for health care coverage just as they do with life insurance and automotive insurance. People who are at a higher risk will pay a higher price. This is much like the road Legault wants to go upon anyway but at least a person will be able to shop around for their coverage. The current government monopoly doesn’t allow for that which is why it must be universal.

Aside from the threat Legault is presenting to Canada’s universal health care system, he’s also threatening the sanctity of free bodily choice. He wants to force medical procedures upon the unwilling. Some may claim such a tax isn’t a use of force. What happens if a person refuses to pay though? What if they hide their money and ignore the notices? Eventually, they will be criminally charged with tax evasion and could even face jail. That’s using force even if the person isn’t literally pinned down and has the needle shoved into their arms.

It was laughable when Quebec banned people from walking their dogs after 10 p.m. as a measure to quell COVID-19 infections, though I did feel bad for the dogs. It was just another example of a government in a panic doing idiotic things. This move by Legault to start separating unvaccinated people and taxing them is something much more serious.

The fundamental principle of health care universality is being put at risk by Premier Legault’s actions. While I do think we need to completely reform the system, this isn’t the way to approach it. Will Canadians stand up and oppose this, though, or will they simply back off and let Quebec violate rights yet again just as they have with Bill 21?

I suspect I know the answer.

It may be a good time to invest in private insurance companies.

Cory Morgan is Assistant Opinion & Broadcast Editor for the Western Standard

Opinion & Broadcast Editor

Cory Morgan is the Opinion & Broadcast Editor of the Western Standard and the Host of ‘Triggered’ based in the Calgary Headquarters. He has worked in independent media and the Alberta oil and gas industry.

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