Thursday, April 9, 2009

More Healthcare Cuts, are you surprised?

I saw this link via another news story posted by Calgary Rants (see blog listing).

Alberta to cut Chiropractor Care from Alberta Health Care plan

Here are some highlights from the article including other cuts. This is what I said was going to happen while everyone was cheering about the removal of the Premium fees in January, so I don't want to hear anyone that supported it complaining now. All you had to do was use your head and know that a free system is not sustainable. It's just NOT:

Albertans will no longer be able to claim chiropractic care as of this summer after the government delisted chiropractor services from its provincial health plan.

Alberta Health and Wellness is also pinching back on money for capital projects, spending $386 million less than last year to upgrade hospitals and continue construction already started.

The new health superboard is deferring several projects that were in its three-year plan, including one to expand the pediatric emergency room at the Stollery Children’s Hospital and a long-term care facility in Fort McMurray.

Several other large projects, including a much-anticipated $250-million hospital in Grande Prairie and an $88-million health centre in Sherwood Park, are being reviewed to see if they need to be chiseled back. maintained its top spot for government spending, taking
40 per cent of the entire Alberta budget.

Note the last line, 40% of the province's budget is spent on health care. How are all the other programs supposed to be funded when that 40% has already had to put a big dent in our tax dollars? Cigarette and Alcohol taxes are going up to try to compensate some of the loss, but will that help? For how long? What happens when all the naughty drinkers and smokers finally pack it in and stop? Where on earth will we get money to fund 'our' projects? That's pretty scary. I don't want Alberta to get worse and worse with health care. Transferring more things to the extended health coverage makes those premiums increase instead (like Blue Cross going up by leaps and bounds this year and next, which I previously posted about). Meanwhile, Albertans are facing higher unemployment, still going through a higher standard of living for rent, food, gas, etc... and will have to pay more and more for health care as well when we are supposed to have this wonderful Universal system. Are we going to be raked across the coals one day like Quebec is over the death of Natasha Richardson? If her accident happened here, STARS air ambulance might have whisked her away and she might still be alive, who knows. But that is a privately funded program, which Quebec does not have to my knowledge.

If our taxes increase, our health care goes up and more things are cut and sent over to extended health insurance, and our employment goes down, how are people here going to fare? It really is getting scary.

Another little note, last year my boyfriend got over a thousand dollars back from income tax, this year he only got $400 even though he paid more into pension and earned only a small amount more than last year... Last year I got over $1500 back but this year will be lucky to score $200. Where are our tax dollars even going? What is it doing for us, really? Too many programs to fund, taking up too much money, and here we are still going into a deficit instead of a surplus. It's revolting, really. I don't want my money taken if I am not going to get it back somewhere along the line. I could use that money for my own household, thanks. I think I'm going to need it.


  1. My young blogger friend,

    Do you have a neck problem? If not, why pay for others? The gov't is doing a good thing. I am a psychologist and we are not funded, even though I think we are good at stretching necks in a different way. So why do YOU want to pay for chiropractic care? That science is way more controversial than mine. You should thank the gov't for their prudence in spending YOUR money. Never ever forget that every cent in "the government" is YOURS and mine.

    If your boyfriend is getting less $ back, it might mean that he has earned more (yah!!!) or has been smart this year. Why would you loan the gov't $ for free? Next year, he should arrange to get even less deductions to pay his debts and happily write a cheque on April 30th. Why pay the gov't in March 2009 and get a refund in June 2010? The smart folks never get refunds. Do the math...

    P.S. I also have an MBA, earned at riper age

  2. Smart folks never get a refund? It's figured out using tables that the govt provides to employers. I don't see how 'smart people' have anything to do with it.

    No I do not have a neck problem, and perhaps chiro is controversial but I suppose since my good friend's husband is one and another friend of mine from high school is one, I see a different side including both recognizing other medical problems in their patients over the years that the standard doctors had missed repeatedly. I've never been to a chiro myself, I am simply speaking of cuts to the funding. The cuts have also included closing down at least two maternity wards so far due to a nursing shortage (there should not be a shortage if our system is so fabulous), and closing down cytology labs in 3 other larger cities.

    I live in a city where there has not been a single family doctor taking new patients in nearly 4 years. Is that going to improve with more funding cuts? To keep the ones we already have, the budget for their services increase was tripled for this budget.

    I believe we should still be paying a premium in Alberta. That is what my post is about mainly. The only people who got the premium taken away in January are people who CAN afford it. Low income families, singles, AISH receivers, and seniors already got subsidized Alberta Health Care. If people earning over $36,000 a year (or whatever the base amount is now) cannot afford $44-88 a month towards their own health, that does not say much about their priorities in monthly spending.

    I just say that you cannot expect a free system to deliver top care. Ask the nursing home workers who are on strike if it's been working for them. Or my mother who's family doc quit his general practise last year and she is without consistent care for her multiple medical needs because she has to go to walkins and emergency, where they tell her she should be seeing her family practitioner.

  3. So, I see we are on side, re being concerned about how to best spend public health care dollars and perhaps wanting parallel services for those who want premium health care. As a Calgarian of "auld", we used to get a "bill" (circa 1970) of what we had "spent" in health care. It was surprising. People have NO idea what it really costs to see whether their winter viral infection needs a doctor! Family practise is not well rewarded, so those specialists with their fancy, expensive tests are! Were I a doc, I guess I would go into a speciality for economic motivation. Clinics are good for those viral infections and routine care. It is actually the medical and other regulators who desperately want to maintain the status quo - politicians listen to them.

  4. The times in my 36 years I have had Ace care was while pregnant. Being pregnant, I could walk into any clinic or ER with a valid complaint and be seen almost immediately. I have no complaints at all over the care I received during those times, and my children. I had a premature son last year, weighing only 3lbs, and he received top notch care and was able to come home in only 15 days. The NICU was wonderful and I learned it costs $1500 a day just to have a baby in the warming unit, let alone any further interventions such as feeding tubes, IVs, medication, life-saving, etc. My son was one of their cheaper charges because he did not need much intervention. I am very thankful for the care I received in my own city.

    But other times, I have not been so lucky. While pregnant, I could be seen by a heart specialist in a week. When not pregnant, the wait was 6-8 months. While pregnant I could get an appt with my doc within 2 weeks, not pregnant it's 4-6 weeks. When suffering from a bought of kidney stones in 2005, I had to wait in line at a clinic and then took myself to the ER, only to wait again and nearly pass out in the lobby before someone took my pain seriously. I was then bumped up to 3rd on the list instead of 15th. I should thank them for that ;)It took an hour for a doctor to see me once I finally got a bed, and by then I was throwing up every minute, and needed IV fluids to replenish me. At that time they did not know what the abdominal pain was from, I guess it's a good thing it was not my appendix or other such serious problem. The help I received in the meantime was from a sympathetic paramedic walking by, and nurses who could not do anything but talk to me until a doc arrived. Fun stuff!

    But if it happened while I was pregnant, I would have been taken in immediately. At least that kind of care goes on, otherwise it is like a triage situation and if this is supposed to be a wonderful all-caring system, people should not be sitting for multiple hours waiting to be seen. My city has over 60,000 people, serving over 100,000 in the region, but there are usually only one or two ER docs on the floor. I have yet to be there in 20+ years where at least 6 people were not sitting waiting and just as many already in beds waiting as well. I will also never forget when my 2 yr old was in the ER for a massive urinary infection and the doc left her and 4 others waiting in beds while he finished watching the Grey Cup on tv in the lounge. Lovely!



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