Alberta’s health care is not sustainable

I watched the TV leadership debate on April 12th and carefully listened to every comment regarding health care. Every leader had ideas for ‘fixing health care’ and everyone is completely wrong.

There is an old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Albertan’s health care system is not broken. It is a wonderful service with very decent and professionally trained folks providing super health care. Our health care system is far beyond anything we could have imagined 50 years ago.

Sure, there is the odd glitch, a few delays, some equipment not of the latest model, a bed may not be available exactly when and where you want it, a child’s broken arm may require that you get in the car and drive to the big City – hey – we can’t afford a Mayo Clinic in everyone’s backyard.

This last sentence might be a slight exaggeration, but is it not what Alberta’s complainers expect? A clinic in every town, a 24-7 doctor just down the block, an instant nurse to wipe your nose when you get the sniffles, a night nurse by your bed when you get old (like me), a cure for every discomfort – and all for free.

Are these few, loud complainers crazy or just blind? Do they not know that a publicly-funded monopoly system will always appear to be under-funded, will always be something less than the Mayo Clinic, will always have glitches and delays, and will always depend on a few major hospitals to service the bulk of health care. This is true in every province in Canada and probably every publicly-funded monopoly system in the world.

Get used to it.

Or complaints are an affront to every dedicated doctor, nurse and medical technician who serve us so faithfully.

Ironically, the loudest complainers are the leaderships of the doctors and nurses’ unions. Why? Because they want more tax dollars, much more, flowing into the health care system. Most doctors and nurses don’t know and don’t care what their union leadership is up to, they just continue to do what they live and give Albertans super care.

True Albertans are not complainers. All the ones I know are tough, resilient, fair, modest, very busy and very likeable. No one wants a complainer for a neighbour or a friend. In truth we have nothing to complain about. Life in Alberta is good. Much of the world can only dream about a life like ours.

Why do politicians, media and socialist groups such as Friends of Medicare, make health care an issue? Because life in Alberta is so good they need to create an issue, a fictitious one. No wonder most Albertans avoid voting and avoid politics – because it’s phony, pretentious, silly and time-consuming. For most people it is irreverent to their every day lives.

We all know that good government is not automatic, that we need honest, dedicated, capable people running it. In a democracy like ours, the people get to do the voting for whom they feel will form the nest common sense government. And so we have the frenzy of an election campaign. To some of use, who have the time, it’s fun and a cute diversion from the ups and downs of life. But to create health care as a serious issue is a bad joke.

But I must admit to one serious issue that surrounds health care, and that is that it is unaffordable. It now gobbles up almost 40% of the total Alberta budget. It’s simply not sustainable.

Do we need a new government, one with no ‘baggage’, and one with the political courage to face down the few complainers? Indeed we do.

Jim Swan

Red Deer