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.
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