Privilege and equity in healthcare

I shared the other day the idea the for the privileged equity feels like oppression.

It occurred to me that this is in part why I am scared at the idea of moving back to Canada and relying on the Canadian healthcare system. The Canadian system is a good one. It is mostly equitable. It suffers from the same issues as most, in that people in rural areas don’t get as good care as those who live closer to major medical centres. That issue exists in the US too.

But, at the moment, I’m extremely privileged when it comes to healthcare. I have good insurance. For the most part, I have access to excellent doctors, and I can afford my medicines. I have learned to use my privilege to get good healthcare.

I feel like moving back to Canada, I won’t get as good of care. I likely won’t have access to a PCP that I don’t have to wait for, but also one that I can ask unlimited questions in a single visit. I likely won’t get to choose my specialists. Actually, as an empowered patient, I know that the key to getting good healthcare in Canada is finding the right PCP (Family Doctor). I would need to find one that would be willing to work with me on my healthcare, rather than one that expects me to simply “comply”. A PCP that would allow me to choose which specialists I’m referred to. I cannot help but think that I would be a nightmare patient for any Canadian Family Doctor, and that is part of what scares me.

I realize now that a large part of my fear of going back to Canada is that it means a loss in the privilege that I currently have. It means that I will become equal to anyone else in the system, and that is a loss to me.

This is causing me to really question my values. I struggle because it is easy to say that I value equity, but when it comes to my healthcare, I am thankful that I am currently in a place of privilege – and it is something that I don’t want to let go of. I am afraid of losing the privilege. I am afraid that it will lead to suffering – and yet – I think that everyone is entitled to good healthcare and that means that I need to let go of the privilege that I have in order to allow for equality. I’m not willing to let go of it just yet …

  • Becky

One Comment

  • Hi Becky,
    I think any time we have to change our healthcare routine, provider, doctor or whatever, it causes stress. I had to chuckle when I read your words about being a nightmare patient for any Canadian Family Doctor. Wondering why you feel that way. Good luck as you make your decisions. Appreciate your candor. So many of us aren’t even aware just how much privilege we have – in healthcare and in other areas as well.

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