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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 

Alberta To Make It Easier To Opt Out Of Medicare

Canadians are quietly going about their affairs, unaware of subtle moves by the right wing to bring an end to publicly funded, universal health care.

Alberta's government is working on a plan to make it possible to opt out of medicare with legislation that allows people to opt out of the public health-care system for up to three years at a time.


While I'm certainly suspicious of the Stelmach government on health issues, I have to wonder whether any effect will be just the opposite. Surely the pool of Albertans confident that they won't need public health services (and will continue to have enough money to pay their own way if they do) should be smaller for a three-year time frame than for a one-year span - though in either case it doesn't look like many people are interested in opting out.

Healthcare, in my opinion, should be like public education. Everybody is in, but if that want and can afford something better, they can pay for it too.

tomcat, that sounds good in theory, but here's how I see it. When something doesn't affect someone personally, it falls off their radar. They simply don't realize problems exist in a sector if they don't participate in it.

Now, unfortunately those with proportionately more power and political clout in our country also are typically those with more money - enough money to pay for private health.

Therefore, those with political clout will also be those who are paying for private health care. They will be more, not less, inclined to cut service then, since cuts won't affect them.

Redjenny, you raise an excellent point, but I don't see how you can prevent a rich Canadian from popping across the border to the US and buying health care here.

TomCat, of course we can't stop that, but that doesn't mean we should encourage it by letting the rich people out of their obligations here at home. Ontario is differenct (health care is part of our taxes - we don't pay separate health premiums) but I am originally from Alberta and from what I remember premiums were scaled to income, so rich people opting out means a LOT of money lost to the health system.

It would be preferable, would it not, to improve health care for everyone rather than allow those with money to abandon the system?

In that case, RJ, you misundertook me. ;-)

When I said they can pay for it too I meant that they should be required to pay their taxes for the state sponsored system in addition to paying for whatever other services they choose to purchase, like the public school system in the US. Here, the parents who send their kids to private school, still have to pay the same taxes to support the public school system.

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