June 18th, 2018

Time to stand up for proper medicare

By Letter to the Editor on March 10, 2018.

Re: “What is the difference between public and private MRI units” (letter to the Herald, Feb. 24).

The short answer is profit. And I’m guessing that private clinics make a lot of it, even while our public health system grapples with inadequate funding.

Why do Albertans fork over hundreds or even thousands of dollars to for-profit clinics? Why is medicare so short of MRI scanners? Perhaps it’s because we support politicians that are committed, not to strengthening medicare, but to weakening the system in order to take us down the path to privatization. Albertans buy into this because we have been conditioned to believe that the public sector is always bad and the private sector is always good.

When Alberta’s over-stretched public health program fails to keep up with demand, when access and fairness no longer exist, they tell us that medicare is broken and that only for-profit corporations can save it.

MRI wait times are unacceptably long in Alberta. How do we fix it? For starters, we should stop funding private experiments with public money. We can ensure better access to public MRI scans by increasing public capacity and by expanding hours of use. Stop overusing MRI machines. Research shows that more than half of MRI scans for lower back problems are unnecessary. We should develop strategies that serve the public interest, not reckless schemes that permit the wealthy to jump the Medicare queue because they have money, while others die on wait lists.

Albertans shouldn’t have to endure long wait times, or pay out-of-pocket fees for medically necessary care (a financial burden for many Albertans). It’s time to stand up for a properly funded, better managed medicare program.

Dave Volume


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4 Responses to “Time to stand up for proper medicare”

  1. Fedup Conservative says:

    As we know Dave we had one of the best health care systems in North America under Lougheed and Getty when they were collecting proper royalties and taxes from the rich and as the doctors I talk to about it all say “YOU CAN POINT YOUR FINGER RIGHT AT RALPH KLEIN FOR DESTROYING IT” because it’s true.

    Who in their right mind would close hospitals, close 1,500 hospital beds and cut 5,000 nursing positions forcing thousands of doctors and nurses out the fastest growing province in Canada. The answer is obvious it was someone who was trying to force Albertans into excepting a privatized health care system to benefit more rich friends, like Klein promised he would do and what Jason Kenney is promising to do.
    Welcome to Ralph’s World of forcing the people into a lot more privatization while letting their rich friends become a lot richer at the people’s expense.

    And as the true conservatives know it’s all about the Reform Godfather Preston Manning’s policies being used by fools calling themselves conservatives and tricking ignorant Albertans when there is nothing conservative about them.

  2. gs172 says:

    While I do agree with Dave and Fedup Conservative on the gutting of our medical infrastructure there are many fingers to point here. I don’t think just pouring money into the public system is going to fix it. The healthcare system has changed so much in the last 30 years it is unrecognizable. There are more tests and procedures and they are much more expensive. Also the human factor has changed so much. I do appreciate the Dr’s and Nurses’s but the standard of care is not the same. When you call to make an appointment with your Dr. and you are given a date 6 weeks in the future and you have to go to a walk-in clinic that is booked for the day in the 1st 45 minutes it’s ridiculous. When you do get in, you see a Dr. who has no idea what your medical history is and basically puts a Band-Aid on and gets you out of there as fast as possible until you get to see your own Dr. And when you do see your own Dr. it seems 5 minutes seeing you is pushing it. There is no continuity in Health care.

    I recently has a family member who had to go in for a major surgery in Calgary. She had to go in to see an anesthesiologist before the surgery who preceded to tell her it probably wasn’t going to be him that was at the surgery. They shuffle them around in Calgary on a daily basis. As far as the nurses go you want an older one as the care is so much different. Is this because of short staffing? I don’t know. I hope so. I got the impression that they come first and the patient comes second.

    Am I asking too much? I would gladly pay more taxes if it would make a difference. I paid for an MRI, and would gladly do it again. I am certainly not rich but the thought of waiting 10 months for a public MRI send shivers down my spine.

  3. Fedup Conservative says:

    gs172 The problem you are describing is exactly my point. Klein drove 14,783 health care workers out of our health care system, my next door neighbor is one of them, a family member is another one and a friend’s sister is another one. I helped nine doctors and at least two dozen nurses relocate out of this province and not one of them wanted to go. Then there was the case where young doctors and nurses after graduating went elsewhere to work after watching what their doctor and nurse mothers and fathers went through.

    The good news is that some have been returning and the emergency waiting time in the emergency rooms isn’t nearly as long as it was under Klein. I should know I have been through it four times between June 5th and Sept. 22. the longest I had to wait was 2 and a half hours a far cry from the six to eight hours we experienced under Klein. A friend had blocked bowel surgery in 1998 and it took 5 days to get him into surgery, he came within 15 minutes of dying. I had a blocked bowel on June 5th and was operated on about 8 hours after being admitted to hospital. However we still have a long way to go a friend had prostate cancer surgery last Friday and has been waiting for many months, another friend had a hernia surgery just before Christmas and he had to wait 11 months, just like I did a few years ago and now my daughter in-law’s father has a hernia problem and they have told him that it will be likely 11 months for him also. So this certainly hasn’t changed and it’s because we don’t have the doctors and nurses to make it change, or have the money to buy all the MRIs the Klein, Stelmach and Redford governments didn’t bother to buy while they gave away billions in royalties and taxes, my B.C. relatives aren’t having this problem, my brother in-law had prostate cancer surgery within two months being diagnosed.

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