Thursday, August 17, 2006

Alberta government's Healthcare privatization by stealth

Quietly and without fanfare the government posts it's extremely unpopular plans to further dismantle public healthcare. They were clearly hoping nobody would notice. The NDP did.

Albertans need to come to terms with the fact that our government is ideologically committed to destroying public healthcare. Publicly and openly didn't work, which simply means doing it quietly and clandestinely, not giving it up.

Public healthcare will not be safe in Alberta as long as the Conservatives are in power.


Olaf said...

Haha, just pure bullshit.

Do me a favour, cite the quote or phrase or word that suggests to you that the PC's want to dismantle public health. The Tories backed away from all of their controversial policy ideas (doctors could work in public and private systems, permitting private for profit care for government funded services, etc.), and this somehow conveys to you that they are attempting to dismantle public health care.

This can be summed up as "well, they did exactly what we wanted... I no longer have anything to bitch about... I can no longer compare the Tories to the Americans... what do I do... UNLESS... ofcourse!!...they must be hiding it somewhere. Bastards!"

Did you see the section Ray Martin (that brilliant NDP detective) cited? It said "The challenge is to develop a clear criteria and a practical way of determining what should be paid for using public funds...We need to see evidence of real value and effectiveness before agreeing to add more services and drugs to the publicly funded benefits." (pg. 23)
Martin then suggested that by reviewing what is and is not covered by public health care, the government necessarily is looking to delist services. In the NDPs world, the solution to public health care is to have the government pay for everything and anything for everyone at all times, which would effectively bankrupt the province. But when you're constantly ignore by the majority of voters, you have a blank slate to promise whatever you want so long as the general public does not understand the consequences.

Attempting to spend public money most effectively = privatization of health care.

But, at least you've done the research and aren't just buying into NDP rhetoric. Good for you.

Cliff said...

Life got in the way of responding to this last week - so here we go.

This government has shown a desire and willingness to degrade public healthcare at every opportunity. While Klein's very public attack on the system was repulsed by the public, the Tories realize that privatization of the healthcare system has proceeded faster in places when it's done through quiet underfunding and neglect rather than through flashy public attacks. This is the only thing they learned from the Third Way debacle - the goals haven't changed, just the methods.

Believing they have the best interests of the public system at heart and just want to 'make the public system work better' is either disingenuous or breathtakingly naive, based on their long history on this file, not just this latest document - astoundingly opaque and vague as it is for a major public policy statement.

The fact that this frame-work was released with zero fanfare just adds to the worries. I predicted a while ago that the Tories would learn from Ralph's leap off the healthcare policy cliff to make their attacks on public care more subtle. I discussed the liklihood that they would seek the false economies of de-listing or never listing. The fake numbers supporting the bullshit 'The public system will bankrupt us' narrative have been dealt with here. Even the American private insurance corporation the government paid six figures to to analyze the healthcare system couldn't state with a straight face that more privatization would save money, but of course that's not what it was ever about.

And of course even the smallest experiments in private delivery can lock us into changes that would be permanent.

Bottom line you believe, or claim to believe, that this government can be trusted with this file. Based on the history, the statements made by senior figures in this government, the continued use of deceptive cost numbers and buzz words like 'innovation' and 'patient choice' notable for their deliberate, cynical cognitive dissonance - I do not.

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