What should Medicare pay for: Infant formula? Parking fees?

Letter to the editor. Edmonton Journal. Published October 21, 2016.

What would you do as health minister?

Re. “Parking hard nut to crack,” Editorial, Oct. 16

Kermit the Frog made famous, “It’s not easy being green.” Nor is it easy being Alberta’s minister of health. The annual hikes in health-care spending are making medicare less sustainable year after year.

In May, the Alberta government announced it would provide coverage “for Neocate infant formula when an infant is unable to tolerate common infant formula.” The average cost was $690 each month for the parents. Now, there’s a monthly premium between $82 and $118, and a $25 copayment per prescription. What a difference for each family.

The Journal’s editorial on hospital parking fees provides insight as to, with limited resources, what should medicare pay for. For example, hospital parking fees were never envisaged as “medically required” under the Canada Health Act.

The impact of parking fees is not to be discounted. Given the choice between the Neocate infant formula and parking fees, however, what would you do if you were Sarah Hoffman?

Ronald Kustra, Canadians for Sustainable Medicare, St. Albert

A thought not included in the letter:

“Life is made up of choices.” Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Facts not included in the letter:

According to the Alberta Health website, the publicly funded Medicare monopoly consumes $2.3 million every hour; $56 million every day; and $20.5 Billion this fiscal year [April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017].

Canada’s government-run health care system – Medicare -- is a monopoly that prohibits private hospital and private physician care. Medicare is a subpar performer, ranking 10th among 11 advanced countries. Canadians deserve much better! Patients deserve timely access to quality care and choice of hospitals and physicians. Taxpayers deserve much more value for their tax dollars.

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