Heath care system unacceptably broken
Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 11:05 am |
By Murray Elliott
| Olds Albertan
Mountain View Publishing’s managing editor Lea Smaldon shattered her ankle, August 12. One would think that Alberta’s annual $16 billion health care budget would react. It didn’t.
Lea was sent home with painkillers and a splint, instructed to return if pain persevered. It did. She wound up back in Red Deer hospital, dulled with drugs, delayed for surgery, and told by her physician to complain to her MLA.
Five, frustrating days later, her ankle was repaired, but her faith in an efficient health care system was broken.
Regrettably, you don’t know how bad the system is until you need it. The challenge isn’t health care providers, or the system, when you access it. Care is top-notch, delivered by the best. We all have family alive today thanks to the bright minds and skilled hands of Canadian doctors and nurses.
Throwing money at the issue has limited results: $16 billion doesn’t seem to do it. Complaining to politicians is futile-there are two options: more money, or a two-tier system. The latter seems too much for Canadians. It’s like asking Americans to take away the right to bear arms.
There have been valiant efforts in Alberta: super boards, not-so-super boards, administration revamps, oh, and always, demand from the system for more money to make things right.
Saskatchewan’s Socialist leader Tommy Douglas, championed Saskatchewan’s Medical Care Insurance Act, July 1, 1962. Soon after, every province followed suit.
Douglas’ legislation meant government took on the health finances, and doctors were free to practice. After poring through the 1961 Act, I also learned there were premiums to be paid and penalties to be applied to defaulters. Perhaps the most disconcerting, prophetic part of the legaleased tome, is the great attention to administration rather than the patient.
Douglas’ health-care-for all was admirable, but hasn’t aged well. We’re loath to allow government into our lives, save for health. We all agree medicine should be accessible by all without burden. Instead, at times, like Lea Smaldon, we’re all burdened.
A solution? Sharper minds than mine and billions of our own dollars, managed by others, have yet to find the way. Those with means bypass our backlogged system. Allowing private and public to run parallel seems the inevitable answer. The system, like Lea Smaldon’s ankle, has been broken for too long.