January 21, 2018

Canadians For Sustainable Medicare Matters

The meeting began with Henry introducing our guests.  It might be hypocritical with a surname like mine to be reticent to try to spell their names, but call me a coward.
Derryl Duncan won the Paul Harris envelope draw.
Bud told us that  next week a speaker will be speaking on Fracking. He wanted to know the numbers of how many people would be expected.
Cliff Tyminiski won the 50 50 and gave the 4 way test a valiant effort.
Didi Coutts did a fine job of fining the group for its various transgressions.
Update from Robert Liebbel on YEX
We do have first orientation for outbound students.  The 2 kids who were senior rotex are helping out as well.  Our student is Zenia, Russian last name.  We'll probably see her in February.
Jeff introduced the guest speaker, Ronald Kustra, representing Canadians for sustainable medicaire (C4SM).  Mr. Kustra is the spokesperson for this organization as well as its spokesman. His presentation is called "Kermit the Frog and the Medical Monopoly".
Ron retired in 2013 after more than 32 years at the Alberta Medical Association, where he was the assistant executive of public affairs, and a member of the senior management team.  His responsibilities included reputation management, advocacy, media profile, government relations, and member engagement.  Ron was involved in drafting position statements and policy papers for both the Alberta and Canadian medical associations.  His political contributions include working with a Manitoba cabinet minister for almost 2 years, and being involved in  provincial and federal election campaings.  Prior to that Ron spent over a decade in journalism, mostly with the Winnipeg Free Press and Winnipeg Tribune.  He has been honoured as a master communicator by the National Association of Business Communicators.
Ron's speech started with a comment about his daughter, 15 years ago, asking him if he still uses email.  It's actually a conversation I've had more recently with my son.  Hard to imagine being considered a troglodyte as I used to be on the leading edge of technology.  However, this tiller is being emailed to you, so I guess I feel Ron's pain.
Here is a summary of his speech:
Medicare as we all know is one of the most important institutions in Canada.  However, the medicare fable does not jive with reality.  There are a lot of people who leave Canada to get health care in a timely manner.
One of the first things that the NDP did upon gaining power impacted few families, but the impact on those families was huge.  There are about 20 kids in any year that have an allergy to the protein in cow's milk.  There are 2 ways to deal with this, either a colostomy bag or gastro-intestinal tube.  Another way is to give them a formula so that they can eat ice cream.  One family was paying 28,000 a year for that formula. Because of the government's decision, the maximum a family  is paying now is $150.

Canada has a reputation as a great place for medicare but if you look closely we don't perform as well as other countries.  We've are number 9 of 11 countries measured semi-annually.  All of those countries that scored higher than us have a private sector for hospitals and for doctors.  When we talk about these other countries, they also have health care premiums and user pays.
When Ron started at Alberta Medical Association, the portion of every tax dollar spent on medicare was 30 cents. Currently that number is 42 cents.  Our health minister estimates that as things are, in 15 years that number will be 67.  This will leave little for other programs.
Currently a family of 4 making an income of $120,000 is spending approximately 10% of their income on health care every year.
Much like Kermit the frog saying it's not easy being green, it's not easy being a patient in the health care system.  It's also not easy to be the minister of health.  But it's not easy is no excuse for the health care system failing to deliver timely access to life saving health care, and it's not easy when the health care system denies choice to people in their own country.
Defenders of the status quo have been successful in defining what health care is, and what it can only be. They oppose private funding of doctors and hospitals, private delivery of doctor and hospital services, and they oppose choice when medicare fails.  C4SM believes it's time for another voice, and Ron's dream is that all Albertans and all Canadians recieve the same health care as the the military, injured workers, professional athletes, and prison inmates.

Although we excel at emergency health care, urgent health care is diminishing and what we call elective health care (cataract surgery, hip replacement) is growing desperate.
We call our health care system the "jewel" of health care systems, but no other country has adopted it.  Other countries spend less on their health care, but get better results.
One thing that we need is a care guarantee.  This has been championed by a senate committee chaired by former liberal senator Kirby.  This makes politicians, civil servants, bureaucrates, and civil servants very queasy.  Senator Kirby's committee wrote "Governments can no longer have it both ways.   THey cannot fail to provide timely access and at the same time prevent those Canadians from getting those services thru private means.  A care guarantee means that if you can't get the service in a timely manner thru medicare you will have the option of purchasing it in Canada.
4 building blocks that are viewed
Choice must become recognized as a funamental value
The monopoly must end
We need to harness the ingenuity and entrepreneurship of the private sector
We need to beg, borrow, and steal from countries that do a better job of delivering health care.
One of the arguments is that you shouldn't be able to buy your way to the front of the line, but from an equity perspective, Canada ranks 10 out of 11, followed by the US.  Countries that do have a private health care delivery rank ahead of us in terms of equity.
For more information, go to their website:

From the christmas kettle team


Hello to all our volunteers,

We would like to extend a huge thank you to each and every one of our volunteers, for the dedication and commitment you gave in volunteering at one of our 2017 Christmas Programs.

We are pleased to announce that the Christmas Kettle Campaign raised $976,110.43 in donations this year. Without your continued support we would not have accomplished the success that we did. Your gift of time, to ring the bells at the kettles, has given the gift of hope to so many.

It was very nice to meet and thank in person, the volunteers that were able to attend our Volunteer Appreciation Event over the weekend. The ‘painting’ segment was a huge success and I must say, we have a lot of creative artists in our midst. We hope you are displaying your fabulous works of art, for all your family and friends to admire as well.

Thank you again for donating your time and we hope to join up with you again on our 2018 Christmas Kettle Campaign.

Peace and Blessings to you all,

The Kettles Team

Next Meeting: Monday, January 29th at The Village Park Inn, main floor.    
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