Kermit the Frog & and the Medicare Monopoly

Canada’s health-care system, commonly known as Medicare, is an expensive, subpar performer encased in mythology.  Other countries with a mix of public and private providers outperform Canada and Alberta, and at a lower cost. Now is the time to be innovative and grow Alberta’s health-care system beyond its mid-20th century roots.


The Medicare monopoly severely limits a patient’s access to hospital services and to physician services. Albertans and all Canadians not only need, but also deserve, choice as to where, when, how and from whom they can obtain hospital and physician care. And, they especially deserve a care guarantee when Medicare fails.


In “Kermit the Frog and the Medicare Monopoly,” Canadians for Sustainable Medicare [C4SM], Your Voice for Patient Choice, explores the myths and realities of Canada’s health-care system, and what the future could and should hold for patients and taxpayers. By:


  • Introducing Patient Choice
  • Guaranteeing Timely Access
  • Instituting a Care Guarantee when Medicare fails to deliver timely access
  • Ending the public-sector monopoly on hospital services and physician services
  • Making Medicare sustainable and accountable
  • Growing the health care system, not shrinking it through more rationing
  • Encouraging the innovation and entrepreneurship of the private sector


The current Medicare model is not sustainable. Year-after-year, health care consumes a larger percentage of government spending. For example, in the early 1980s health care was 30% of Alberta’s operating budget.


Today it’s 40%; and Health Minister Sarah Hoffman has raised a red flag: if the status quo continues, just two decades from now, in 2036, that number will be 60% – almost two of every three dollars the government will be spending. This will impact other programs and services that are important for health such as income support, housing, seniors, education, roads and bridges, and the environment.


Canadians for Sustainable Medicare is comprised of patients, providers and businesses.


Highly respected Calgary orthopedic surgeon Dr. Robert Hollinshead is Chair of the Board of Directors. He is a Past President of both the Alberta Medical Association [AMA] and Canadian Orthopedic Society, and a former member of the Canadian Medical Association Board of Directors.


The other C4SM board members are: Edmonton family physician Dr. Edward Papp, a former AMA board member and Past President of the AMA’s Section of General Practice; Dr. Lyle Oberg, a former Alberta Cabinet Minister – Finance, Learning, Infrastructure and Transportation; Dr. Sam Shaw, former CEO of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology [NAIT]; Noel McBride, a St. Albert investor; and Ronald Kustra, former AMA Assistant Executive Director [Public Affairs], who is the C4SM spokesperson.

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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