Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Alberta's surprising health choice

It's the kind of thing that just makes you rub your eyes in wonder: Alberta's Conservative government just hired Stephen Duckett, a fiercely articulate critic of private and two-tier health care systems... to run Alberta's health care system.

Yeah, that's what I said, but read this: Australia, a prominent private system exists alongside the public system. In 2003/04 about 40% of all hospital admissions were to private hospitals. About 43% of the people residing in Australia have private health insurance. This dual system has deleterious implications for the equity and efficiency of the health care system, and similar ill effects could occur if Canada were to follow the Australian path of health care organization.
Mr Duckett is harshly critical of the huge increase in costs and the inequitable results of expanded private sector involvement in the health sector and alarmed by the growing political power of the private health lobby in Australia.

After the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the government's musings about 90's style cuts earlier this month this appointment may just represent Stelmach's eagerness to avoid any more fights about health care and of course Mr Duckett will be administrating policy, not making it, but regardless its a surprising and welcome reminder that Ralph Klein is gone.

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