Canada’s Waitcare System

Dave 07We just had a harrowing week with a happy outcome. A Reesor family tradition is that the males usually have open heart surgery once they reach their 60’s. This week it was my brother’s turn, and he came to a hospital in the city to have it done. The surgery was a bit more complicated than usual, but everything went “routinely.” He is on the road to recovery, and is being discharged, just five days after being sawed open, having some new piping installed, and a valve job. Open heart surgery is routine in the sense that running Alaska’s Iditarod or climbing Mount Everest is routine.

Once he was diagnosed, surgery was done reasonably expeditiously; the consensus is that hospital staff is exceptional; doctors and nurses were totally professional, yet concerned, informative and available; and my brother even says the hospital food was not bad!

On the other hand, my sister-in-law will be looking after him on crutches. She has non-functioning and extremely painful knee, which almost certainly needs surgery, but last month she was told that she must have an MRI first. The surgeon said he would put a rush on it – and got a date in November. Over five months in our Waitcare System!Woman with crutch

In the meantime, she will have constant pain, loss of sleep, etc., and multiple doctor’s visits, every one of which adds to the cost of the cure. In fact, long wait times cost the system– more correctly, costs taxpayers like you and me – and the economy, a horrendous but often ignored pile of money!

My question is: “How does this make sense?” Why, of all the developed countries in the world, does Canada insist on maintaining an noncompetitive, single-payer, (the government), single provider, (the government), single manager, (the government), system? Every developed country in the world except Canada has a combination of public and privately funded and delivered healthcare which introduces a healthy (pun intended) element of competition into healthcare.

I can hear the self-styled, Friends of Medicare, and their ilk, shrieking: “We don’t want an American style healthcare system!” I completely agree. During the 1990s, I had a salesman from Oklahoma City with whom I traveled the United States from corner to corner. His wife was employed in the US healthcare system, so we discussed the pros and cons of our separate systems for thousands of miles. Our conclusion was that both fall woefully short of what they should be in a pair of modern democracies.

A relatively recent study by the Fraser Institute reached the same conclusion. They looked at overall costs, wait times, accessibility to the best technology, and of course the results in terms of reduction of pain and suffering, and mortality. Overall, Canada and the United States ranked last, and second last, out of more than 30 developed countries. And we are arguing about which system is better than the other?

According to the Fraser Institute study, Canada does not rank first in any of the seven health care outcome categories that they examined, nor in any of the comparisons of access to care or modern technologies. Yet we spend more on health care than any OECD nations with universal access healthcare systems, except for Iceland and Switzerland.

Left-wing ideologues in this country insist that we have the best healthcare system in the world. That is plainly nonsense, yet American left-wing ideologues point to Canada as the country they want to emulate. And to a significant extent that’s what they’ve done with the Affordable Health Care Act, better known as, Obamacare.

Are they insane? No, they are just typical socialist fundamentalists who value ideology over reality or practicality or even, – and here is pure irony given that leftists are always bloviating about sustainability – sustainability. On its current track, our healthcare system will go broke.

Canada is the only country in the industrialized world that outlaws a parallel private healthcare system for their citizens. For instance, the biggest hospital in Malmo Sweden is privately owned. But the closest parallels to the Canadian system, in the world, are Cuba and North Korea. If our healthcare system is known by the company it keeps, we are in extremely deep trouble.

To counter the backward and unsustainable agenda of Friends of Medicare, (Friends of Unionized Healthcare), how about an alternate organization called: Support Modern Affordable Health Care, or SMAHC? (pronounced smock) Let’s work towards making expensive, painful, six-month waits for an MRI a bad memory from the past.

Here are some insights (in blue) directly from Friends of Medicare’s (FOM) website.    FOM is a powerful lobby group, with extremely close ties to the NDP and Liberal parties of Alberta.

Friends of Medicare (FOM) is opposed to the development of a parallel private for-profit health care delivery system.

FOM supports free collective bargaining between all health care workers and their employers.

FOM opposes the contracting out of health care services.

So FOM opposes Canada having a parallel private healthcare delivery system – unlike every other developed country in the world, Do they prefer that our system remains like North Korea’s?. They want collective bargaining for all health care workers. They oppose anyone except union members providing health care. Is that because the majority of their board and supporters are former union activists?

Alberta’s new government is made up of devotees of the exact same ideology, and they have inherited Canada’s most costly healthcare system – per capita – in Canada. This in spite of the fact that Alberta has Canada’s youngest population. But do you think that crawling even farther under the covers with the unions is going to improve our system, or bring costs under control? 

IWUZ is a personal blog, but we support the initiatives of Let’s Do It Ourselves, the online community at Please become a member! If we work together, we can push back against the complete unionization of Alberta’s governance.

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