Why do atheists thank god?

An interesting concept I’ve often wondered about. The latest atheist to thank God is Russel Norman:

Katya is now in good health after a long and serious illness, superbly treated by the public health system. “Thank God ? I mean, I’m an atheist, but thank God for the public health system,” Norman says.

There are a lot of things that I thank God for but a public health system isn’t one of them. Given his?stupendous?public salary why couldn’t he use the private system and reduce the burden on the public health system?