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Alberta’s Health Care System

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Alberta premier Ralph Klein has shocked Canadians, and many Albertans too, with his announcement of possible healthcare reforms. Under his plan, Alberta would soon see a two-tier healthcare system, where the rich can pay their way to the top of waiting lists.

The problem with health care is that there is no system that is 100% satisfactory to all. Countries around the world employ different systems (public, private, mixture of public-private), but they are all faced with major challenges. Long waiting lists seem to be a sign of the times, because even countries with mixed systems are now experiencing the same problem of having to ration health care.

Is it because people are generally sick more often or is it a result of the aging baby boomer generation? Probably a bit of both as well as several other factors.

One, logistical, problem as I see it is the fact that too many people pack themselves off to the nearest emergency room for minor problems, such as a sniffling nose, thus unnecessarily increasing the burden and workload of hospitals and staff.

Clearly, the logistics of delivering medical services in this country must be improved. Including private providers in the public system should not pose too much of a problem as long as they are also paid out of the public purse – in other words, private delivery of public services would be a step in the right direction.

Albertans and Canadians seem to agree with this, but what makes Klein’s plan hard to stomach is his insistence on enabling the rich to use their money and influence to get treated first, while anyone who lacks the power of money gets pushed further down on the waiting list. Such a system would be unacceptable and would not be in line with Canadian (and Albertan) values.

About Werner Patels

  • Bliffle

    “One, logistical, problem as I see it is the fact that too many people pack themselves off to the nearest emergency room for minor problems, such as a sniffling nose, thus unnecessarily increasing the burden and workload of hospitals and staff.”

    Has anyone seen a person in an ER with just a sniffle? Or is this just hyperbole?

  • http://calgaryobserver.blogs.com AlbertaLife

    No, unfortunately, it’s not just hyperbole. Doctors and nurses, at least in major hospitals in big cities across Canada, have been complaining about this for years.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “even countries with mixed systems are now experiencing the same problem of having to ration health care.”

    Even countries with fully-socialized medicine have to “ration” care. Hence, the waiting lists…

    “what makes Klein’s plan hard to stomach is his insistence on enabling the rich to use their money and influence to get treated first”

    They already can, by going to American hospitals instead of waiting months and months for treatment in Canada…

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “Has anyone seen a person in an ER with just a sniffle? Or is this just hyperbole?”

    I have certainly known people who have gone to the ER for relatively minor illnesses, like a bad cold or the flu. They tend to go to the ER because they lack health insurance, and therefore they don’t have a primary care physician, so the only way to get “immediate treatment” is to go to the ER (and then likely wait for several hours before a doctor will see them…).

    Of course, seeking medical treatment for a cold or even the flu is basically pointless. Antibiotics can do nothing to “cure” these viral infections. It is only when someone with a weakened immune system (like an elderly person) suffers a secondary bacterial infection caused by the initial viral infection that antibiotics should be prescribed/administered.

    Another “advantage” of going to the ER for an ailment is the fact that you do not have to pay, really. Sure, the hospital will bill you an outrageous sum for your care, but the patient is only really expected to pay five or ten dollars a month, and the hospital is likely to write off the remainder of the bill eventually (or a private charity will cover it).

  • jiggy65

    yo,yo,yo! hommies!
    its all pointless to argue or speculate since the government doesn’t listen to us anyway and does what it wants most of the time!
    peace dogs!

  • Olivia Kate

    i reallyh like ur website! it’s soooo coool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! keep up the great work!

  • Kathie G

    Now that our poor health system has affected me, I realize that many have probably suffered. Over six months ago it was discovered I had lesions on my liver, possibly cholangiocarcinoma. In another couple of weeks I will be operated on but it has continued to grow. Why have I had to wait so long?