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Health-care cuts also a concern for residents

Airdrie letters_text

Dear Editor,

The members of the Airdrie Community Physicians’ Association are right in having concerns about the proposed cuts to health care in the province. Recently, podiatrists were taken off the list of services Alberta Health Services provided free of charge, and residents will now have to pay upfront for treatment.

The UCP did not honour any previous agreements with physicians and it has not honoured agreements with nurses, and the next step in this “death of a million cutbacks” is very likely to take more treatments off the books.

I think the UCP is intentionally wrecking health care to force people to think that getting rid of the public system is the right thing to do. It is not.

Private health care means an increased likelihood that middle- and lower-income patients will never receive the same standard of care given to wealthy patients. Even if they have insurance, it may not cover what they find themselves afflicted with because they cannot afford the premiums which would cover it.

Once money enters into the health-care system, it is game over for those who do not have the funds to pay for it. It becomes a “pay as you bleed” system, which bleeds people of more money than it should just because private health firms take whatever they need to boost profits. Children are the most likely to suffer because of it.

If the U.S. model is what the UCP is looking at, then it should be aware that health-care costs are the second-highest reason for bankruptcy in the U.S., second only to job loss. With the average hospital stay in the U.S. reaching $10,000 per day in many states, is it any wonder that Obamacare is such a big issue in that country?

But Jason Kenney is probably listening to the same lobbyists who for decades have pressured Canada and the provinces to allow U.S. HMOs (health maintenance organizations) to enter the country. They are not listening to common sense.

All over the world, governments are maintaining publicly-funded health-care systems because everyone, no matter how much or how little they earn, will eventually get sick and need care. Governments that maintain public health systems realize a healthy population that is not poor because of health-care insurance or hospital costs is also a productive one.

I encourage people in this city without a hospital (shameful, isn’t it?) to write or contact our local MLAs and voice their concerns. What Kenney is doing is not just contrary to the Alberta Health Act and the Canada Health Act, but also ethics and common sense.

Ron Roffel
Silver Springs

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