BY: KARI OLFERT, THINKSASKATOON
BABY PHOTO PROVIDED BY: DUSTIN OLFERT
Is free Saskatchewan Healthcare killing us? The first thing that we all know (and learn in grade kindergarten) is that nothing is free. What you may NOT know:
- Free healthcare is costing us; me, you the taxpayers $5.5 billion this year.
- Healthcare will ALSO receive tax money and grants separate from the $5.5 billion, for infrastructure, $256.4 million (new buildings and upgrades to old ones) and ‘education and training’ for doctors and nurses, $26.9 million.
- HEALTH is in the top 3 of ALL Saskatchewan government expenses, 73.2% grouped in with education and social services.
Let’s look at where our highly funded Saskatchewan Health dollars are going. Shall we?
- FRONTLINE HEALTHCARE WORKERS. The majority of the increase in the budget (up 1.1% from last year) will go here. Better wait times? More staff to help staff, manage patients?
- REGIONAL HEALTH AUTHORITIES. $3.31 billion for operations and initiatives. (Things that make us a leader in the health industry, which brings more money to our province.)
- SASKATCHEWAN CANCER AGENCY. $157.3 million.
- NEW AND IMPROVED SENIORS CARE. $14.5 million.
The top 4 complaints of the very compliant Saskatonian in regards to our FREE Saskatchewan Healthcare are generally:
- Wait times are outrageous. How long does it take for you to get in to see your doctor? On average, how long have you sat waiting in a medi clinic or the dreaded emergency?
- I need a doctor, do you know of a good one? Are they taking new patients? Most of us really like our family physician but it is hard to find a new one.
- Oh you need a specialist? Sit nice for the next 6 months to 2 years or go out of province to Alberta where they have FREE and private healthcare.
- As a fun way to be obnoxious I suggest timing the next visit you have with your physician. Was it longer than 7 minutes? In and Out like the US burger joint. Physicians are overloaded and busy, we get it but that means we do a lot of our own health care.
What exactly is our free healthcare set up to do? Are we numbered cattle walking down a skinny line, with twists and turns so we can’t see too far ahead keeping the general population calm and orderly but also blind, towards our looming death? Is our system being inundated with people abusing the system, potentially the ones not putting the majority of tax money in and also using our government with social service requests? How do we attract good doctors that also want to stay and work here past the free government provided training?
Now that I have potentially ruined your day, let’s look at the truly wonderful benefits of living in a city with FREE healthcare:
- A baby. You can have one and if you look around you, it seems as though everyone in Saskatoon is exercising that right. (Fun fact Saskatchewan has the highest baby/child capita in all of Canada) Not only can you have one, you don’t have to worry about paying for the delivery of that bundle. Whoop whoop.
- You have had a cough for 11 days. That’s too many. You have the right to take your little Saskatchewan health card and go to a doctor and ask them to work their doctor magic and put your WebMD worries to bed.
- You can break bones and not have to worry about how much a cast will cost you.
With the large and larger picture of your free healthcare, you are left to balance the scales using a simple economic technique…is our input equal to our output? The input being your tax dollars and working together as a community to provide healthcare to all; your output – how you, your family and friends personally benefit from the healthcare system. What do you think, are we sacrificing a select few for the masses or does helping the mass build a stronger Saskatchewan or in our case, Saskatoon? 😉