Indian Tribe Forbidden to Buy MRI Machine by Canadians

When Americans hear about politicians who want to increase the government’s role in our health care, everyone should understand what that means, and looking at the total level of government control in Canada is instructive.

In Saskatchewan, an Indian tribe’s desire to buy and operate an MRI machine was denied.

The MRI would perform scans for non-aboriginal and aboriginal patients in Saskatchewan, where waiting lines for MRI scans are some of the longest in Canada — six to twelve months. Instead of forcing Canadians to drive to North Dakota for their scans — which hundreds if not thousands have to do — the Kawacotoose First Nation tribe wanted to buy a scanner with their own money.

As the National Post reports, it “would be a win-win: Aboriginals show entrepreneurial initiative, without any financial obligation on the part of the federal or provincial government, and create well-paying high-tech jobs for natives who desperately need them, while at the same time easing the wait for MRI tests in Saskatchewan that now run six or even 12 months.”

But the NDP (socialist) government of Saskatchewan sees “greedy profiteers under every hospital bed” and will not give the green light for the MRI.

This logic might as well be from an alien culture to Americans, but just to get a glimpse into the Alice-in-Wonderland weirdness, read what Joyanne Pursaga wrote in the Winnipeg Sun, about a similar proposal for non-government ultrasound tests.

“A Winnipeg health screening service outlawed by the Manitoba government last month caused an outcry from patients who felt it offered a safe way to supplement public services…The province is right, however, that such businesses violate the spirit of universal health care in Manitoba.”

Such proposals “would imply our health-care systems is up for sale,” and for “each test, operation or exam we tack on a price tag marks another dangerous step down the same path,” she said.

But making people wait six to twelve months for an MRI — that is the wait for the scan, waiting for a doctor to read the scan and then for an operation are two additional waiting lines that take months if not more than a year for each line — apparently does not violate Pursaga’s spirit of universal health care?

(The doctor waiting lines in Canada are so great because there is a doctor shortage — Canada needs 12,000 to 15,000 doctors they do not have. Why? The government constricted the supply of doctors to ration their free care. You have to ration free care, because when something is free, people over use it.  And it is free, when you can actually get the care.)

This objection to “price tags” by Pursaga is so pathetic — she does not understand that Saskatchewan’s health system has a price tag for every procedure, which the Saskatchewan government pays, and these “price tags” are why the Canadian government is rationing health care by creating a shortage of doctors.

People like Pursaga would rather have people get inferior care, and some die, than solve the Canadian health care system’s serious problem with private sector solutions. That is weird, and it is wrong.

Meanwhile in Quebec, a lawsuit against the Canadian government to allow private sector health care was approved by the Canadian Supreme Court, because the Quebec government was not, and could not provide the level of care the Canadian Health Act said it would, allowing the Supreme Court to bless private sector health care solutions in Quebec and the rest of Canada.

This forced a task force to be created to investigate Quebec’s health system, which was led by a former Liberal Cabinet Minister, that concluded:

“The Canada Health Act ‘hampers the evolution of the provincial public health systems’ and needs to change to reflect new realities and challenges taxing health care, the report concludes” which is being described in Canadian news reports as “a shakeup of principles guiding medical care in Quebec to control spiralling costs.”

At least the French Canadians get it — and are moving to incorporate private sector solutions to provide their citizens care by acknowledging the facts that the government can not provide their citizens the care they said they would and the care their citizens need. So, in Quebec, another approach, one involving the private sector, is being taken.

But people like Pursaga, will yell into the wind in the face of a reality that does not fit her ideology — she would stand in a burning house and insist it is not on fire — if it meant allowing any private sector involvement in Canadian health care. She has that right, it is just, why do it in public, where it becomes embarrassing to deny reality?

By the Numbers

Mellon HSA Solution now manages more than 450,000 Health Savings Accounts that “hold more than $350 million in assets, representing more than 1 million people who take advantage of this tax-free benefit to save for and purchase medical care.”

This “explosive growth” among the 22,000 employers who offer HSAs and use Mellon, is attributed by Mellon to its flexibility to meet employers different needs.

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