Posted on August 9, 2005

Alberta's Premier Klein supports better access for those willing to pay


Opening access to health care is a moral duty, says Klein
By Ralph Klein, Premier of Alberta
Calgary Herald
July 30, 2005

Let me be blunt. We have unacceptable waiting lists in our publicly funded, rationed health-care system, and all the money in the world is not going to eliminate them.

The answer is not more money; the answer is more choice.

Choice can be found in a supplementary insurance plan to privately fund non-emergency medical services…

In simple terms it means that if you are in pain or suffering and cannot wait in line, you should be able to buy the health care you need.

Not jump the line, but move out of the line. Move out of the publicly-funded health-care system and into an expanded parallel system that has more capacity to end your pain and suffering, but to do so at your own cost.

Systemic fix
Calgary Herald
August 6, 2005

Health Care: Ralph Klein states that “all the money in the world” is not going to eliminate waiting lists, unless the source of the funds is private instead of public. What nonsense. An MRI machine or surgical bed is no different whether paid for by private or public dollars.

Excessive queues are eliminated by making minor, selective adjustments in the system’s capacity. Compared to the global costs of establishing and maintaining a health-care system, these adjustments are negligible.

Responsible stewards of any health-care system, public or private, will make these adjustments. The difference is the public system would be adapted to accommodate everyone, whereas private systems accommodate only those who can pay.

By failing to tweak the system’s capacity, Klein has confirmed he is an irresponsible steward of Alberta’s public system. He should consider resigning to accept a position as a health-care executive in the U.S. Our grand experiment with his preferred private system has demonstrated that we are capable of spending almost $2 trillion without allowing the 45 million uninsured to have any position in the queue.

All systems ration care. Excessive rationing due to limited capacity is easily remedied. Rationing by ability to pay results in suffering and death. We know which model of rationing Klein prefers, but which model do Albertans prefer?

Don R. McCanne, M.D.
San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

Don McCanne is a senior health policy fellow with Physicians for a National Health Program.