Posted on Nov 21, 2018

Member's Statement: Cancer Treatment and Public Healthcare

On Wednesday, November 21, 2018, I spoke about the care cancer treatments and the public health care system.

Cancer Treatment and Public Health Care

Ms Babcock: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Imagine for a moment that we live south of the border. The weather would be warmer, the population would be larger, and people around us would be declaring bankruptcy or dying because of lack of funds for health care. It happens every day to our neighbours in the south. In the U.S. the average cost for cancer treatment is approximately $150,000, even more if it’s a complicated case. Not only are cancer patients two and a half times as likely to declare bankruptcy as healthy people, but those patients who go bankrupt are 80 per cent more likely to die from the disease. This is the reality that our counterparts on the other side of this House threaten Albertans with.

Privatizing health care hurts everyone. No one knows when they will need to access health care. I spent a decade not accessing health care in any significant way. During a routine exam my doctor found my cancer. I went for many expensive tests, I had incredibly expensive treatment, including a hospital stay, blood transfusions, and I didn’t pay a cent out of pocket.  Cancer is a disease that doesn’t discriminate. It hits rich and poor alike. The last thing people need when trying to deal with the emotional backlash of a daunting prognosis, navigating an unfamiliar health system, learning about many new medications, trying to figure out how to deal with work, and explaining everything to family, friends and colleagues is to decide if they can afford treatment. Privatizing health care hurts everyone, but it exponentially hurts people in lower socioeconomic situations, people who are already vulnerable, who are already more likely to have complicated health issues and fewer safety nets in place.  I don’t know about you, Mr. Speaker, but I don’t want to live in a place where the very system that should care for everyone in need hurts them. Thank you.

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