There’s no reason health-care system can’t be improved

Re: “U.S. provides lesson in privatized health care’s failure,” Letter, Feb. 26.

When George Thatcher called the U.S. a “lesson in privatized health care’s failure,” he ignored some key points.

Firstly, Alberta has become a lesson in public health care’s failure, so talking about the U.S. is meaningless.

Second, private or public is a false dichotomy. It is dishonest to insinuate that this is the only choice. There is always an “and” option.

In fact, Canada notwithstanding, all the other nations Thatcher mentioned incorporate private health care and, most are predominantly private.

When the U.K. adopted a “two-tier” system in the late 1990s, Canada became the last country in the G20 to retain a public-only, single-tier health-care system.

Despite fearmongering by people like Thatcher, the U.K. has reduced waiting times and improved outcomes greatly. In 2010, I received much-needed surgery three months faster than previously possible.

In any industry, a monopoly results in a corporation that only serves the self-interest of those at the top.

AHS is just such a corporate monopoly and both patients and front-line health care workers pay the price.

How much suffering does Thatcher believe is acceptable in order to maintain our antiquated health-care model in contrast to the experiences of more enlightened nations?

Should anyone walk around on a painful foot injury for three months longer than necessary? Was Jason Kenney’s father an “acceptable loss”?

We don’t need to abandon universal health care to realize the unmistakeable benefits of competitive private-sector health care provision. Germany and Switzerland have excellent universal health care with predominantly private sector models.

Thatcher would do well to refrain from tarring Albertans as being uninformed hillbillies who still harbour the delusion that our health-care system is anything other than a tragic embarrassment.

Stewart Staudinger, Alix

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