Health care is a timely topic — controversial, a political football, the economics of it badly misunderstood, a terribly expensive service for Canadian citizens.
But it’s free, isn’t it?
As a pundit once said, “If you think health care is expensive now, just wait until it’s free!” Or anyone might say, “I can visit my family doctor as often as I want, and I never receive a bill!”
So it must be free! Right?
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
In 2014, a typical Canadian family of two parents and two children will pay $ 11,786 for public health care. [Fraser Institute] That’s a lot of dough! Health care is the single largest expense of nearly every provincial government in Canada.
Along with this huge expense comes a system whose wait times for a specialist is some of the lengthiest is the developed world. Our wait times are a national disgrace. My recent personal experience is a typical case in point. On a recent visit with my family doctor, I was advised to see a specialist and would be contacted by his office. So far I have not been contacted by the specialist. That’s two months, never mind the additional six months I will likely have to wait for an actual appointment.
Further, a family friend living in Sylvan Lake was advised in January to try for a hip replacement. She is barely mobile. She was finally able to get an appointment for surgery in Camrose in October. A 10-month wait!
An advertising booklet entitled Options: your guide to private medicine was recently delivered to all Red Deer homes. It informed every reader that we have easy access to immediate private health care in Edmonton and Calgary, if we are fed up with wait times in the public system.
This was, indeed, a good news booklet!
Did you know that the approximate “cost of lost productivity during the work week by Canadian patients facing lengthy waits for medically necessary care is $ 1.1 billion annually.” [Fraser Institute]
Admittedly, our doctors and nurses and all health workers do a good job for us, but who in their right mind can possibly be proud of our public health-care system? It’s really just another socialist “freebie” that in its present state will eventually bankrupt every province in Canada.
Perhaps, as provinces near bankruptcy, the MLAs will have the political courage to change the system.
Jim Swan, Red Deer