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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Canada's superior medicare system

Calgarian Karen Jepp has given birth, the BBC reports, to identical quadruplets:

Karen Jepp and her husband JP, of Calgary, were taken to a Montana hospital where the girls were delivered two months early by Caesarean section.

Autumn, Brooke, Calissa and Dahlia are in good condition at Benefis Hospital in Great Falls, Montana.

A medical team and space for the babies had been organised for the Jepp family at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary but several other babies were born unexpectedly early, filling the neonatal intensive care unit.

Health officials said they checked every other neonatal intensive care unit in Canada but none had space.

(Hat Tip: Tim Blair  )

Posted by Rick Hiebert on August 18, 2007 | Permalink


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Canada's health care system has only survived so long because of access to the US. If the US system could not accept either special cases like these quadruplets, or allowing those willing to pay, then Canada's system would have collapsed long ago. The US also provides most of the technology used in Canadian hospitals and clinics. Remind the lefties when they say how superior Canada is to the US. Without US help, Canada is nothing.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2007-08-18 9:41:20 AM

Did you hear that Tony Snow, George Bush's Press Secretary, is resigning from his job because "the money ran out". It seems that he cannot afford to live on the paltry $168,000 (US) annual salary that he gets. What accounts for his inability to make ends meet? Tony Snow has cancer and has been underoing treatment for most of this year. It seems that his White House job does not provide adequate medical insurance to cover the costs. So $168,000 might seem like a lot of money (especially when you consider that he used to make a ton more and had who knows how much accumulated wealth from his radio/TV days), but given the lack of universal health coverage in the US, it isn't.

If ever there was a poster child for why the US system - the only western industrialized nation without universal health care - is dysfunctional, it is Tony Snow.

Posted by: HMO | 2007-08-18 10:19:04 AM

Here's another story I just happened to come across moments ago. It seems that the US military likes to discharge people and leave them without any medical coverage whatsoever:

"Eric Miller's career as an Army Ranger wasn't ended by a battlefield wound, but his DNA. Lurking in his genes was a mutation that made him vulnerable to uncontrolled tumor growth. After suffering back pain during a tour in Afghanistan, he underwent three surgeries to remove tumors from his brain and spine that left him with numbness throughout the left side of his body. Because he was born with the mutation, the Army argued it bore no responsibility for his illness and medically discharged him in 2005 without the disability benefits or health insurance he needed to fight his disease."

Work for the White House, and you can be shit-out-of-luck. Join the Army and risk your life to help the people of Afghanistan, and it's fuck-you-very much. I guess the US health insurance system never heard of "support the troops".


Posted by: HMO | 2007-08-18 10:30:22 AM

USA has a universal health care in the sense that if a person cannot pay, the system pays for her. But it is more flexible because it has many options.

My sister was treated in Albany, Ga and the hospital was very adequate.

This is not to say that the US system is not expensive. But how much cost the Canadian system?

Posted by: Rémi Houle | 2007-08-18 10:30:48 AM

"USA has a universal health care in the sense that if a person cannot pay, the system pays for her."

Rémi, "the system" (whatever that means) does not pay for those without coverage. US hospitals actually dump people on the streets who are unable to pay medical bills. And NO ONE is there to pay for former Army Ranger Eric Miller's bills. As far as the US Army and the US health "care" system is concerned, he's on his own.

Good luck fighting those tumors, soldier!

Posted by: HMO | 2007-08-18 10:34:41 AM

Alberta's economy is booming.

The birth RATE is up 15% due to the sense of security this provides.

At least 50,000 new people a year are moving into this province.

The infrastructure is unable to keep up, despite hospitals expanding their maternity ward capacity.

I'd rather be here than in the People's Republic of Saskatchewan.

Posted by: set you free | 2007-08-18 10:42:25 AM

HMO: what about horror stories about canada's system? How about the long waiting lists for treatment, which often drive people to pay out of their own pocket for treatment in the US? Who's protecting them?

If the Liebral/Dipper/Green Alliance ever came to power and implemented Kyoto, their precious medicare would be under threat due to lack of funding. They're more interested in buying carbon credits than paying doctors, nurses and support staff, maintaining hospitals and clinics, and keeping them supplied. They simply cannot be trusted.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2007-08-18 10:44:12 AM


There are mercy hospitals and clinics all over the USA and they cannot by law and do not turn away people who have serious medical issues. They don't dump you on the street. That is something that a Canadian might if the situation were reversed since we are a far less charitable nation than our neighbors.

I lived a work in the US for nearly 12 years and never heard anyone complaining about the health care system.

There is much greater motivation when you have to pay for at least some of your health care or the premiums to stay healthy as possible.

In Canada we have come to believe that we need and deserve a fault free, sage and paid for life. We have laws against hurting peoples feelings in this stupid country.

Life isn't fair and it isn't supposed to be. It's not an elementary school game. We all come here with our genetic make up and whatever our families have to offer and then we takes our chances.

Our system turns away thousands of people every year and puts them on "waiting lists". We don't have the luxury of going elsewhere to get the service we need. Well, we can go to the USA.

Our system is shabby, outdated, FREE but not available.

It's not going to last for the long term, it'a already being propped up by numerous private clinics in case you didn't notice.

Stop defending this failed socialist system. You will feel empty, betrayed and look stupid if you do.

Posted by: John | 2007-08-18 10:48:23 AM

One more thought ....

The news reports that it will cost $30,000 per day for the neo-natal care in Montana (and would have cost $11,000 per day if there had been room in Calgary). Does anyone happen to know if the Jepps could have afforded that, had a private option been available in Canada? Because if they can't, then they are actually better off under the current system, where medicare pays the bill - whether they are flown to Montana, Vancouver, or taken care of at home in Calgary.

Private care options only matter if you are rich, and sometimes only if you are obscenely rich (see the Tony Snow comment above).

Posted by: HMO | 2007-08-18 10:51:37 AM


I'm with you but the Canadian system is not free.

Originally set up as a monopoly insurance pool, it is financed through the tax system.

Where it falls down is on the delivery side ... monopoly delivery, union labour.

It's the delivery side that's in dire need of surgery.

But, point taken, in the long run this model is unsustainable since it is identical to Cuba and North Korea's.

Posted by: set you free | 2007-08-18 10:53:43 AM

My health insurance here in the US costs only slightly more than the health premiums did in Alberta, and for most of the same coverage. Go figure. If someone had a chronic illness, then maybe Canada would be better, but otherwise there are few advantages or disadvantages.

HMO (ironically named) is, like all lefties, offering only a defense of the existing troubled system, not a solution. What he fails to realize is that medicare is dying due to rising costs and declining revenues. The Liebral/Dipper/Green Alliance is more interested in Kyoto than protecting medicare. They hope that it will win them the next election, after which they will continue to do nothing about it.

Soon, the only hospitals in Canada of any quality will be in major centers like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Alberta will have seceded by then, so its medical services will be top notch, combining private and public services like the Dutch do.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2007-08-18 10:58:23 AM


Alberta ponders the rainy day - National Post editorial.

Alberta must put as much away as it can in preparation for a post-medicare Canada, after the Liebrals/Dippers/Greens destroy it with Kyoto.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2007-08-18 11:11:34 AM


I don't find the quadrupletes' birth situation as "proof" that Canada can't deliver babies, nor do I find Tony Snow's economic decision an indictment on government employee's health benefits. Notice the quads went right across to the closest State (Montana) merely to find a room, i.e. it wasn't a difficult birth requiring incredible specialties.

And the soldier's situation is more a jurisdictional dispute than anything else (e.g. Army budget versus Veterans' Administration budget versus some sort of ajudication about prior conditions being the responsibility of prior insurance coverage - perhaps?).

HMO - Will you promise to hang around for us to track the final outcome of these separate stories?

If I was Tony Snow, the decision to take the White House job probably seemed like a reasonable "career ladder" move, e.g. when he ended the job with the Bush Administratiuon perhaps he would become CEO of FOX News (or some big deal). BUT he got CANCER. So now, with perhaps a LOT fewer years left to cash in on his greater fame, maybe he is going to work like crazy writing books: "Me and that STUPID [email protected]#%@@ in the White House" (I've got other ideas for titles if he wants help), and try to cash in quick in order to replenish his finances as a legacy for his family. Who knows, but I suspect it makes sense to him.

There is a lot to argue about Socialism versus Free Market mechanisms for social services, especially when you are talking to people who actually seem to think that "government" services are "free."

It takes both intelligence and guts to explain these issues in a manner where large populations will listen with the degree of attention needed to make intelligent decisions.

It takes a superbly attractive personality to infect populations with the positive beliefs (in themselves) that Freedom requires.

I marvel at Ronald Reagan. Freedom takes courage, excellence, hard work, and Faith.

Faith is the key to Freedom. Atheism is the lock on Socialism.

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2007-08-18 11:14:37 AM

I was reading this article yesterday which is somewhat related to cost of health care. One day most of us will be in this position whether its for a relative or ourselves.


Posted by: 767 Skipper | 2007-08-18 11:21:26 AM

Looks like Mexico is the new Florida!

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2007-08-18 11:32:57 AM

If Cuba's medical care is so good, why are Canadians going to the US? Could it be that US care is better?

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2007-08-18 11:43:58 AM

It's amazing that when medicare comes up, everyone talks about the USA, waiting lists and all the other BS. Waiting lists are a smokescreen!The orthopedic surgeons in this community in central BC have about 1,000 people on their surgical waiting lists. They say that if they had the facilities to get rid of this today, it would make no difference; they have another 3,000 patients waiting for consultation in their offices.
All the operating room drapes, surgical gloves, and so on are purchased for the whole health region. There is only one criterion for this:buy the cheapest! No matter that the gloves stretch during surgical procedures making it difficult to use instruments properly; no matter that the drapes are stiff and interfere with ones hands when operating. How much input in this purchasing option did surgeons have? Zip!! As long as they're cheap!!
Want to really cut costs? We used to have 500 beds,one administrator. one director of nursing, and a couple of secretaries.We now have 250 beds. Administration---one hospital floor, a whole school building, and the 7th and 8th floor of a bank building!!
Sorry, I have to take my nitroglycerine one of the cheaper drugs under The Great Canadian Mythical Care.

Posted by: bg | 2007-08-18 12:08:07 PM

The medical establishment in Canada is a bloated heavily unionized bureaucracy - does it give lots of money and support to political groups that insist on no change to the system? Yes. Mission accomplished.

Sick people are unfortunate expenses on the medical establishment, without them the system would run fine - so, as the socialists imply, screw them. Ingrates.

Posted by: philanthropist | 2007-08-18 12:37:10 PM

Once again, I say that no one said life is fair. Sometimes you get sick and die.

You play the hand you are dealt and do the best you can. If you don't then you will find misfortune much sooner and more often.

If Canadians simply wised up, we would all enjoy better health.

Some folks are genetically predisposed to poor health, that is unfortunate, but again, no one said life is fair and we don't deserve everything first class just because we are here.

We have enjoyed the illusions of cradle to grave care and guarantees, but illusions are not reality, they are merely political promises and you know what those are worth.

Posted by: John | 2007-08-18 1:18:53 PM

Conrad: "Atheism is the lock on socialism."

That's a crock of feces. I am a non-believer/infidel/pick a designation, Conrad, and I'll defend my conservative credentials anywhere and anytime. I'm certainly a lot further to the right than the Pretend Conservatives of Stephen Harper et. al. (Of course,as a non-resient, you're probably unaware that the CPC doesn't retain a vestige of its genuinely conservative Reform Party roots.)

Take your religious bigotry and stuff it.

Posted by: Zog | 2007-08-18 1:47:11 PM

I think we can all agree that anything is better than the Monopolized US Health care system .

Posted by: Edmontonian | 2007-08-18 2:49:41 PM

Zog -

Thank you for your comments.

If you consider yourself conservative it seems you would recognize that withholding powers from government is the essence of freedom.

If you do not withhold the actual power to approve of, or allow, or even encourage the premeditated murder of an innocent from the legitimate "powers" accorded to government, then what possible impact does your brand of "conservatism" deliver?

Only an Atheist (by whatever name or "denomination") can condone Abortion straight out, or with a gutless wizzardry of lies, like calling the baby a "feotus" or "non-viable tissue mass" and that sort of thing.

Notice that my zealotry harms no one; yet your "conservative" philosophy (would that be Libertarianism?) harms anyone, just so long as it's not you.

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2007-08-18 3:51:05 PM


What the hell are you talking about? When have I ever expressed an opinion on abortion on this site? Did you forget to take your meds this morning?

It's none of your business and totally irrelevant to my previous post but, for your information, I am pro-life.

Your unprovoked slander of Atheists and your blanket condemnation of those who don't subscribe to your childlike belief in fairy tales strikes me as remarkably unconservative. Yours is the attitude that, in the Middle East, enables stoning of adulterers and cutting off the hands of thieves in the name of religion. Thankfully, in western society, folks like you are constrained by secular laws.

Posted by: Zog | 2007-08-18 4:20:14 PM

Given that more than 60 millions americans will retire in 2010, and the birthrate keeps falling, who is going to pay for log term care in hospitals?

Same question in Canada. Given the birthrate, who is going to pay for health care on the long term?

Posted by: Rémi Houle | 2007-08-18 4:26:18 PM

All this shows is the that our medical system is underfunded. It also shows if you want beds, make sure 10% of your population can't dream of real care (at a higher cost then here, per person).

Go ahead, trade the lives of many for a few. Trouble is I'm Canadian and I disagree it should happen here.

Posted by: munroe | 2007-08-18 4:43:35 PM

Those four little girls are so fortunate!

They are American citizens!

Posted by: Tom Kelly | 2007-08-18 4:51:14 PM

Actually they'll be dual citizens. Lucky!

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2007-08-18 5:04:09 PM

Zog -

You're the guy I've been looking for! The Pro-Life Atheist.

I hope you have some free time to inform me about how you came to hold a Pro-Life view, and even be so patient as to explain what "Pro-Life" means to you (e.g. no abortions unless you really want one, etc.)?

In for a penny in for a pound, so I may as well ask also, what is your thought regarding homosexuality, e.g. a normal and/or genetic condition or a terrible mental illness burden which some people suffer?

I am REAL interested in your thoughts on this, and it is possible that your thinking would be enlightening-interesting to others as well.

I view these issues as absolutely central and essential to the future of human freedom, e.g. Abortion is Murder and Homosexuality is a mental illness.

You and many "conservatives" seem to think these a perripheral issues next to tax rates or troops at war, etc.

Call me all the names, meds, etc. you can think up, that's fine, but please let me know why an aggresive Atheist is Pro-Life and also please share your thoughts regarding (Leftist) efforts at normalizing-encouraging homosexuality as a (major) valid function of government.

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2007-08-18 5:56:36 PM

Most medical equipment, from MRI Machines to tongue depressors, come from the US - as do most other consumer goods. Other things come from Europe. One cannot go to a doctor's office and not see US brand names on all sorts of products.

Be grateful that Canada can afford such things, because many other countries cannot. Without it, Canada's health care would be the same as Cuba's.

True no party seeks to radically change medicare. However, there is one party - the Liebral/Dipper/Green Alliance - that has placed medicare at risk by its fanatical devotion to Kyoto. Their plan requires that large sums of tax dollars be used to buying carbon credits. They plan to raise taxes to do this. That money can and should be directed towards social programs. Yet the LDG Alliance refuses to budge from Kyoto, thereby placing medicare at risk of being further short-funded. Such recklessness must never be tolerated.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2007-08-18 6:03:26 PM

I don't know why I come here sometimes. I guess it's a mindless distraction.

Harper didn't break Kyoto - he accepted the inevitable when previous Liebral gov'ts failed to carry it out. To blame him is ludicrous. If anything he should be commended for seeing the inevitable and trying to create an alternative plan.

If 'climate change' is a serious problem, why was Ontario's auto industry exempted? They pollute too. I have no problem with Alberta paying, and even paying proportionally more than others. But to exempt anyone from a global problem is grossly unfair, counterproductive to the main issue and grounds for Alberta's secession. Remove the exemptions and prepare a definite payment plan, THEN Kyoto can be discussed. Until then, don't waste your time, because Alberta won't waste its time.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2007-08-18 6:28:46 PM

Roger: "The land and resources of Alberta belong to Canada"

Like hell they do!

Roger, I know that you can't be expected to know much about Canadian jurisdictional relationships or political history but, for your information, in Canada, land and renewable resources are provincial responsibilities. Most provinces continued to administer their natural resources as a "natural" when they entered Confederation. Saskatchewan and Alberta, having been part of the federally administered NWT prior to becoming provinces in 1905, didn't acquire full provincial status until 1932. That's why Westerners tend to get pretty hostile when the feds encroach on their rights.

It's curious that a provocateur and fifth columnist from an Islamic shithole feels qualified to pass judgement on who is or is not a good Canadian.

Posted by: Zog | 2007-08-18 7:00:17 PM

It is true that a great many of our tech products come from Asia but you should ask where they are designed. In the medical field most of our advanced equipment comes from the US, Europe and even from here in Canada. The bio-medical industry is very much alive in Edmonton.

Posted by: DML | 2007-08-18 7:11:30 PM

Roger reminds me of those die-hard Nazis who refused to believe that the cause was over and totally discredited.

But it's more likely he's one of the werewolf superwomen that the Nazis created (Grindhouse reference).

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2007-08-18 7:25:10 PM

How about pour some common sense into the Toronto water supply? Alberta has a way of changing easterners into true believers. Those who don't like it just leave, which is fine by us because there are plenty more willing to take their place.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2007-08-18 8:13:29 PM

Hateful Ali (Roger) with his posts straight out of the al Jazeera copybook, now claims to be, not merely a Canadian resident but a Canadian. I don't believe him but, if he does happen to be telling the truth, that's a great example of how severely we have allowed Canadian passports to be devalued.

Just a few days ago, on another Shotgun thread, this pig referred to our soldiers in Afghanistan as "murderers, rapists and thieves". Those are ordinary Canadians who wear the CAF uniform and are trying their damndest to protect our foreign aid program with one hand while fighting the Taliban barbarians with the other.

Only today, he gloated (prematurely I'd say) that NATO's back has been broken in Afghanistan. I doubt that he's dangerous, because if he was he'd keep a low profile until the time comes to blow something up. Nevertheless, we are at war, and I hope that CSIS has an eye on the bastard, just in case.

Posted by: Zog | 2007-08-18 9:56:32 PM

Boy this debate went nowhere fast.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2007-08-18 10:34:52 PM

No Ali, you are the liar, but that doesn't matter to you, because lying to Kuffars is halal.

I'm not about to go digging through a weeks worth of your corrosive spew to find the precise date and time of your comment, but you did NOT say AMERICANS. (See, I too can use my shift key.)

Suck it up, provocateur. You went too far, and you can't retract it.

Posted by: Zog | 2007-08-18 10:53:38 PM

More division has been created on this site amongst posters, I assume?

Posted by: Edmontonian | 2007-08-18 11:00:04 PM

"A Canadian Doctor Describes How Socialized Medicine Doesn't Work"


I was once a believer in socialized medicine. As a Canadian, I had soaked up the belief that government-run health care was truly compassionate. What I knew about American health care was unappealing: high expenses and lots of uninsured people.

My health care prejudices crumbled on the way to a medical school class. On a subzero Winnipeg morning in 1997, I cut across the hospital emergency room to shave a few minutes off my frigid commute.

Swinging open the door, I stepped into a nightmare: the ER overflowed with elderly people on stretchers, waiting for admission. Some, it turned out, had waited five days. The air stank with sweat and urine. Right then, I began to reconsider everything that I thought I knew about Canadian health care.
Dr. Jacques Chaoulli faces the media in Montreal in June 2005, after he got Canada's Supreme Court to strike down a Quebec law banning private insurance for services covered under Medicare — a decision the rocked the country's universal health care system.

Dr. Jacques Chaoulli faces the media in Montreal in June 2005, after he got Canada's Supreme Court to strike down a Quebec law banning private insurance for services covered under Medicare — a decision the rocked the country's universal health care system.

I soon discovered that the problems went well beyond overcrowded ERs. Patients had to wait for practically any diagnostic test or procedure, such as the man with persistent pain from a hernia operation whom we referred to a pain clinic — with a three-year wait list; or the woman with breast cancer who needed to wait four months for radiation therapy, when the standard of care was four weeks.

Government researchers now note that more than 1.5 million Ontarians (or 12% of that province's population) can't find family physicians. Health officials in one Nova Scotia community actually resorted to a lottery to determine who'd get a doctor's appointment.

These problems are not unique to Canada — they characterize all government-run health care systems.

Consider the recent British controversy over a cancer patient who tried to get an appointment with a specialist, only to have it canceled — 48 times. More than 1 million Britons must wait for some type of care, with 200,000 in line for longer than six months. In France, the supply of doctors is so limited that during an August 2003 heat wave — when many doctors were on vacation and hospitals were stretched beyond capacity — 15,000 elderly citizens died. Across Europe, state-of-the-art drugs aren't available. And so on.

Single-payer systems — confronting dirty hospitals, long waiting lists and substandard treatment — are starting to crack, however. Canadian newspapers are filled with stories of people frustrated by long delays for care. Many Canadians, determined to get the care they need, have begun looking not to lotteries — but to markets.

Dr. Jacques Chaoulli is at the center of this changing health care scene. In the 1990s, he organized a private Quebec practice — patients called him, he made house calls and then he directly billed his patients. The local health board cried foul and began fining him. The legal status of private practice in Canada remained murky, but billing patients, rather than the government, was certainly illegal, and so was private insurance.


And then then are these socialized medicine failings:




Posted by: obc | 2007-08-19 7:03:23 AM

"The Ugly Truth About Canadian Health Care"

David Gratzer

Socialized medicine has meant rationed care and lack of innovation. Small wonder Canadians are looking to the market.

Mountain-bike enthusiast Suzanne Aucoin had to fight more than her Stage IV colon cancer. Her doctor suggested Erbitux—a proven cancer drug that targets cancer cells exclusively, unlike conventional chemotherapies that more crudely kill all fast-growing cells in the body—and Aucoin went to a clinic to begin treatment. But if Erbitux offered hope, Aucoin’s insurance didn’t: she received one inscrutable form letter after another, rejecting her claim for reimbursement. Yet another example of the callous hand of managed care, depriving someone of needed medical help, right? Guess again. Erbitux is standard treatment, covered by insurance companies—in the United States. Aucoin lives in Ontario, Canada.

When Aucoin appealed to an official ombudsman, the Ontario government claimed that her treatment was unproven and that she had gone to an unaccredited clinic. But the FDA in the U.S. had approved Erbitux, and her clinic was a cancer center affiliated with a prominent Catholic hospital in Buffalo. This January, the ombudsman ruled in Aucoin’s favor, awarding her the cost of treatment. She represents a dramatic new trend in Canadian health-care advocacy: finding the treatment you need in another country, and then fighting Canadian bureaucrats (and often suing) to get them to pick up the tab.

Posted by: obc | 2007-08-19 7:08:51 AM

There would be much more money for health care if we got rid of unions in the system. Heck - they pay janitors $25-35 an hour to mop floors and take out the garbage. Not to mention benefits and pensions that they do not deserve either for such uneducated manual labour.

Posted by: obc | 2007-08-19 8:18:31 AM

And from the ISN'T THIS SPECIAL? file:

'Child Rapist Prescribed Viagra'

A paedophile accused of raping a five-year-old boy just weeks after leaving jail had been prescribed Viagra while inside, his lawyer claimed.
Repeat offender Francis Evrard had spent 18 years in prison for raping children before being freed on July 2.

The 61-year-old allegedly snatched the boy from a street in the northern town of Roubaix on August 15.

Police said the pair were discovered partly clothed in a garage used by Evrard after a nationwide search.

Officers found a packet of Viagra in his pocket.

"He says very clearly that he asked for these products in prison and that they gave him a prescription which he collected when he was released," his lawyer, Jerome Pianezza, said.

THIS IS WHY paedophiles must be executed - or at least serve life in prison with NO chance of parole. A 5 year old child is now scarred for life because of the mercy shown this animal.

Posted by: obc | 2007-08-19 8:36:33 AM

Considering the track record of our health care system, it is astounding that anyone could argue that it is great. The facts speak for themselves. Secondly amazing is the premise that the only alternative is the American system. Just plain stupid.

As well stated already the problem is the government being the provider. Government, any government and anywhere, is incapable of efficiency, to say nothing of the wasting of money. Typical government system is our top heavy administration in health care. The only solution is to remove government as the provider of health care. Let them stick to health care insurance for basic coverage while allowing private coverage in other areas. That would be a great improvement over our present failing system. Please spare me the song and dance that the solution is more money for the system, for that is a blatant lie.

Posted by: Alain | 2007-08-19 3:52:41 PM

I left my rural Saskatchewan home partly because the combination of closed hospitals, retiring doctors and crappy roads was an aggrevation that an old fart with health problems didn't need. Now I'm in Calgary, where I was able to get on a GP's patient list only by using a connection - something for which I don't appologize one bit.

Back in the 1940s, my family worked hard to get the initial public health care system in Swift Current Health Region No. 1. It was a blessing to families who had suffered through "wait periods" of like, forever - except for emergencies which the country doctors often handled on a "what you can pay, when you can pay it" basis. The new public system worked beautifully for about 25 years, i.e. as long as it was administered by volunteer local hospital boards, which usually included the Reeve of the RM and the local doctor. It flatlined when control was ceded to massive central bureaucracies and when rural people lost their traditional ethic that you only go to the doctor if the pain is unbearable and/or getting worse.

I swear that the system in Swift Current, with which I am very familiar, has many more administrative and clerical workers than medical personnel. I assume that, because there is more public petro-money available here, the situation in Calgary is even worse.

Universal health care was a noble experiment but, in the end, it was killed by human nature. Political expediency being what it is, I see no hope of reviving it through a massive house cleaning which every insider, including even the nurses (who used to be professional people) would resist with the tenacity of wolverines. The only hope is to introduce the discipline of the free market, and the sooner the better.

Posted by: Zog | 2007-08-19 4:27:51 PM

There are 4 new US citizens this week, born in Montana because no Canadian hospital could care for them - identical quadruplets from Calgary.

Posted by: obc | 2007-08-19 4:29:10 PM

"even the nurses (who used to be professional people) would resist with the tenacity of wolverines"

That's because their first loyalty is to their union - even before the needs of the patients.

Unions must be decertified and made illegal - for the greater good of the populace.

Posted by: obc | 2007-08-19 4:31:53 PM

Sorry obc but, nurses unions are only a reflection of their members who are, in turn, representative of our decaying society.

Many years ago, I worked, on the management side, with Mine Mill and Smelter workers on a mine safety committee. I never found them to be anything other than rational and co-operative, just as the run-of-mine workers were on the job. I doubt that it would be the same today!

Nothing wrong with people forming unions for their mutual benefit, provided that governments don't, as they often do,intervene to tilt the playing field in the union's favor. It's called the free market.

Posted by: Zog | 2007-08-19 4:43:24 PM

"It's called the free market."

Actually, it's called a monopoly, like the mafia - if non-union members are barred from employment at these same jobs.

Posted by: obc | 2007-08-19 5:59:15 PM

Zog, you make some valid points and so does obc. I do not see a true difference of opinion, although I think you raise the root of the problem which cannot be ignored. Indeed, the problem with any ideology (such as universal health care) is that it fails to take into account human nature and does so at its own peril.

I fully support the free market concept also, but I too often find it lacking where it is claimed to exist. What I mean is that a free market should be just that; a level playing field without anyone or any group getting any kind of special advantage or treatment. Nevertheless it remains imperative to remove government bureaucracy from health care. Even the Chinese communists learned that central planning does not and cannot work.

Posted by: Alain | 2007-08-19 6:38:09 PM

I have no quarrel with the existence of unions but question the necessity of closed shops. If the union does a good job for the members, it will attract membership. If it guarantees good worker performance for the length of the contract management will work well with the union. I have seen this in action. I have also seen union negotiators work toward goals that, in the long run, diminished the conditions under which their members worked because the union worked for higher wages rather than ensuring the continued employment of members and the employment of future members.

Posted by: DML | 2007-08-19 10:18:53 PM

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