Saturday, May 12, 2007

My Canadian Blogger Pal's Intake on Deaf Canadians' Predicament

Hi Cy,

I hadn't followed this controversy surrounding the language mode of the cochlear implant surgery recipients. Interestingly, I have a friend who is a CI recipient. She was not forced to drop visual language and that was not what she used anyway. She was raised an oralist.

Yes, our health care system is on the socialist principle. Indeed it complicates the process when you try to intertwine that with the democratic process. How do you combine medical decisions that our health care system are constitutionally authorized to make with the federal law? I think perhaps this is a first.

Upon reading the excerpts you sent me, my take on this is that our government is interested in protecting our tax dollars. I believe they view that by allowing CI recipients continue to use visual language is a misuse of tax money. My understanding is that CI surgery importunes the recipients to be able to hear that they cannot with a hearing aid. This device enables them to acquire speaking skills. This is where I see how our government assess that by allowing the CI recipients to use sign language they are misusing tax money upon which the health care system operates. I can see how they feel that by passing a law for CI recipients to follow an aural/oral regimen justifies spending tax dollars on providing CI surgery to Deaf Canadians.

It is true our health care system makes health and medical decisions for us. We pay taxes to them and they budget our tax dollars to operate the health and medical processes. Our health care system is not privately operated - it is governmental operated. We must fill out forms to request surgical procedures and we must wait weeks, sometimes months, to hear a decision. Our doctors indeed can make in-office decisions for certain routine procedures, but when it comes to expensive procedures such as in-office procedures, expensive medication, hospitalizations, and so forth, we must get authorization. Because our health care is a "Goliath," it can be difficult and complicated. They take so much time to make those kinds of decisions.

For instance, when I had my gall bladder, it took 4 months before I heard back from them. In the meanwhile, I was in a lot of pain and heavily medicated with painkillers. I got the green light, and had to request a surgical appointment. That was another 3 weeks. They found a hospital for me and set it up. After nearly 5 months in pain, I finally had my gallbladder removed. I understand this goes much quicker in the U.S.

As a principle, our socialism-based health care is a wonderful thing. All of us have coverage. However, the levels of coverage vary based on how much tax you pay. As a city employee, I get the full coverage. They automatically deduct specific amount of health care tax from any city and federal employee following a formula.

My mother, on the other hand, is a homemaker. She pays health care tax on a form annually, following a formula upon her income tax. If the formula shows she doesn't work and does not pay taxes, she gets the minimal coverage. Her selection of providers is severely limited. I believe this is similar to America's Medicaid system. Nonetheless, every Canadian, job or no job, has coverage.

Back to your CI controversy, this is perhaps a first (as far as I personally know of) that our health care system attempts to intertwine with the federal government process to make it federal law for the CI recipients follow the aural/oral regimens and depart the visual language route. This would certainly set a precedent for future health and medical cases.

Indeed, I agree with you it is not all that surprising that our health care system would attempt to dictate a social decision in the interest of protecting a capitalistic operation in form of tax dollars. The question here is who initiated this - the health care system or the federal government? I would be curious to know. My bet is on the federal government as it is capitally motivated.

Tracy, a proud Canadian.

Folks, Tracy is a blog pal of mine on another blog. She is not deaf. Knowing she is a Canadian, I sought to get her insight into this controversy and debate on the Canadian health care. I wanted a clarification and a confirmation that what I understood about their health care is accurate.

I received some responses that I am mistaken about their governmental system. I am not referring to the federated democractic part of their government system which IS indeed the same as ours. Their health care is the exception and in that, the reason why their health care can dictate the post-surgical care for their CI receipents.

As I've said time and again, I sincerely hope Americans' and Canadians' voices came loud and clear to them that they will change their position on forcing this law on their Deaf Canadians. Like Oscar and I discussed - what do they know about the Deaf?? Zip. All they understand is the money.