“Are you happy to be back in Winnipeg?” many have asked since I made the move from Regina seven months ago. I am indeed for a variety of reasons, most of which are related to the people who are near and dear to me.
One reason that has surprised me a little is that health care is somewhat better in the land of the golden boy. I’m awaiting surgery to replace both of my wobbly knees. The first one will happen just in time for Valentine’s Day. That’s three or four months ahead of where I would be on a similar waiting list in Saskatchewan.
I have been treated for sleep apnea for more than 15 years. The solution is a Bi-Pap machine which you breathe through at night. Both provinces supply the basic equipment. Manitoba covers all other costs like masks that need to replaced once a year at a cost of $200. In Saskatchewan I was on my own for that bill.
Finding a family doctor was easier in Winnipeg, and getting into a hospital when you need one seems to be less of an issue. In Regina this month, a number of surgeries had to be cancelled because hospitals were jammed to the doors.
Saskatchewan is the only province in Canada with a balanced budget, while Manitoba is struggling with a deficit of close to a billion dollars. Health care is by far the largest cost area for all provinces, and you might expect that a Have province like Saskatchewan would be doing better.
I should emphasize that the health care system in all provinces is not what it should be. Wait times are an issue everywhere. So are doctor shortages, especially outside of major cities.
So, what do we value more? Is it the comfort of a balanced budget, or better management of health care? I think it’s a no brainer.
I’m Roger Currie
You can listen to Roger Currie’s commentary by clicking on the link below: