There is a good reason Alberta spends more on health than any other province in the nation -- $3,695 per person -- and yet we wait longer for care.
The Fraser Institute notes that if an Albertan sees a family doctor -- if you're lucky enough to have a family doctor, which in Alberta is fast becoming a mythical creature on the same order as a unicorn -- and are referred to a specialist, the average wait before actually getting treated is 19.5 weeks.
This is not good.
It is not even up to the sad standard set by other Canadian provinces.
Our American cousins look at such numbers and are appalled.
Yet there is a very good reason for this.
It is because the economic model for our health-care system, in Alberta and across the country, would be instantly recognizable to Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong.
Mao and Stalin didn't believe in the rights of individuals to make economic decisions on their own, and neither do those who become hysterical and cry like little girls denied tickets to the new Avril Lavigne tour when it is suggested an absolute government monopoly on health care is killing us, financially and literally.
We have taken the economic model of the Soviet and Maoist collective farm -- the result of which was generally widespread starvation -- and applied it to the delivery of health care.
Anyone surprised by the fact it doesn't work is probably also surprised Jack Layton isn't prime minister, the sun rises in the east, sticking a knife into a toaster hurts and that you can sit in a Calgary hospital emergency room suffering a serious gallbladder attack for eight hours before getting a shot of Demerol, which happened to the wife of a friend of mine recently.
Despite our institutionalized disdain in this country for all things American, if a U.S. citizen doesn't have health insurance and goes to a county hospital where medical care, as it is in Canada, is "free," the wait for treatment for a gallbladder attack is .... you guessed it ... about eight hours.
The average Canadian, with his much-lauded, universal medical system, is treated like the average American without health-care insurance.
Countries that provide a compassionate and intelligent mix of private and public health care simply do better.
A recent survey of 28 countries that offer universal health care saw Canada place 26th in terms of medical outcomes for every dollar spent, 18th in access to CAT scans and 22nd in infant mortality.
Because of the presence of (gasp of horror!) capitalists in the systems outperforming ours, such as Australia, they have embraced the discipline of the free market, which delivers any product -- from iPods to heart surgeries -- more efficiently and effectively.
Notice that it's a Canadian who's comparing their system to Communism, not me. What would the fat Sicko himself, Michael Moore-on, say to this?
Hat tip to NewAlert (see blogroll).