Courier editorial – Dual health authorities and Occam’s Razor; the most simple explanation is often the right one

Charlotte County peeps, it’s been a big week. Honestly, there’s no getting around the fact this edition is packed with some big stories that cover some big topics, any of which I could ramble on about.

Healthcare, vaccinations, a travel bubble, and how the NB RCMP communicates; it’s overwhelming, to tell the truth.

And I’m limited for space…but here we go anyway. Wish me luck.

So, our cover story. It’s no secret we have two health authorities in the province, and it’s no secret that having two authorities costs us more than having a single entity (as was suggested when the province shifted from the madness of eight separate authorities).

What does seem to be a special sauce ingredient level secret is precisely *how* much more it costs us to have the two authorities. What we know for sure is it’s in the tens of millions of dollars, and that extra expenditure to my mind could be used in much better ways.

Now, I realize the article discusses the fact it’s not the dual authorities that are the issue, but rather the cack-handed manner in which the N.B. heatlhcare system is run…but do the two not go hand-in-hand?

It would seem to me having dual health authorities simply means two entities often working against each other, competing for supplies, personnel (which is a huge issue in and of itself), all while we, the residents, pay for two CEO’s, and two massive administration teams.

I understand the idea that money can’t fix a broken system when the system itself no longer functions correctly. I could have $1 million to purchase a world class dressage horse, but that doesn’t mean I have the actual ability to ride it correctly. Money will not solve the crux of the issue with our provincial healthcare system, but it will go a long way to improving staffing levels, incorporate training, provide consultants, and improve infrastructure within that system.

And yes, there would be upheaval, and costs involved with amalgamation, but why is the government so afraid of that fact? The system is already publicly acknowledged to be broken, is this not an opportunity to resolve that issue? I’m a fairly regular participant in the N.B. healthcare system and I’d be willing to be patient if I could see real change and improvements were being made. Knowing the system would see an influx of dollars currently spent on administration shifting to actual care, well, that’s something we could get behind.

A family friend used to use the phrase “cash is king!” on a regular basis (normally when discussing making the cogs of the federal government wheel turn), and he wasn’t wrong.

Cash, in this case, could indeed be king, offering the funding needed to make the improvements desperately required.

In 2019, New Brunswick was the poorest province in the country…and we fritter tens of millions away on this dual authority system. I’m all for ensuring the French language is properly incorporated, but can that not be done with a bilingual system as is Horizon on the whole anyway?

I understand the issue is complex and divisive, but if we bring it down to the dollars it costs, it seems pretty straightforward to me.

Add to that the cost of the dual education authorities, and we have a system that is costing tax-payers a significant chunk of change annually.

It’s the theory of Occam’s Razor; that in articulating an explanation of a topic, “no more assumptions should be made than are necessary”. Basically, when we break down a topic, the most simple explanation is often the right one; and here, the basic point is money, and the lack thereof in a system where it is needed.

Krisi Marples