Huge health care costs

Letter to the editor, Edmonton Sun, published October 19, 2016

Tom Parkin (October 16) asserts medicare is sustainable. No, it’s not — unless the federal and provincial governments in their current negotiations on health care spending deal with the realities of the medicare monopoly and the 50 years of history, misconceptions and mythology that medicare carries.

In the early 1980s, publicly funded health care consumed 30 cents of every Alberta tax dollar. Today, it’s 40-45 cents. Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman is sounding the alarm that just two decades from now medicare could be devouring 60 cents, which is why she talks about “bending the cost curve.”

If medicare is at 60 cents, what will be left for other important government services such as housing, low-income support, seniors’ programs, education, universities, culture, roads and bridges, and the environment?

(It’s a file all governments need to manage better.)

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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