Manitoba town to offer “user pay” MRIs

The Winnipeg Free Press featured pro-con columns to spotlight a proposed “user pay” MRI service in Niverville, a community southeast of Winnipeg.. The “con” was penned by Michelle Gawronsky, president of the Manitoba Government and General Employees Union; the “pro” by Gordon Daman, a volunteer board member for the not-for-profit, community-owned Niverville Heritage Centre.

Winnipeg Free Press letter to the editor. Published September 1, 2017. Re: Private MRIs are moving us in a dangerous direction (Aug. 30)

As a union president, of course Michelle Gawronsky wants to perpetuate the unionized Medicare monopoly and, therefore, opposes the proposed Niverville “user-pay MRI clinic.” What she fails to mention is that Tommy Douglas, the revered father of Medicare, believed in user fees.

Also, Canada’s government-run, health-care monopoly ranks ninth of 11 countries — including No. 9 in equity and No. 10 in access. Significantly, all countries ahead of us have a private sector for hospitals and physicians.

And finally, compared to other OECD countries, such as in Europe, Canada ranks 18th out of 26 in the availability of MRI units.

Medicare is a fiscal Pac-Man, consuming a bigger and bigger share of government budgets. The result is less money for other health-related priorities such as low-income support, social housing, seniors’ programs, education, roads and bridges and the environment.

The Medicare monopoly, designed in the 1960s, no longer provides the timely access to quality care that Manitobans and all Canadians need and deserve in the 21st century.

It’s time to end the public monopoly and to empower patients with choice so that they can decide where and from whom to obtain their health and medical care.

Ronald Kustra

Association of Canadians for Sustainable Medicare

St. Albert, Alta.

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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