Friends of Medicare's David Eggen on the real healthcare agenda of Alberta's Tories.
The government's warnings of "unsustainable health care" have returned, right on cue, to match the latest rounds of cuts.
As it happens, health expenditures in relation to gross domestic product in Alberta have stayed at between five and seven per cent for the last 15 years. We continue to compare favourably to other jurisdictions. The Canadian average is about 10 per cent, France and Switzerland are at about 11 per cent and the United States is at 15 per cent. To me, this sounds pretty sustainable.
This helps to reveal the real agenda behind Liepert's and Duckett's draconian actions. It is not about "saving medicare" or responding to the recession. People don't stop getting sick when the economy is weak.
The Alberta government's real plan is to destabilize our health-care system so it can implement private, for-profit experiments to "fix" medicare. They are purposefully breaking the health-care system so they can hire private contractors to repair it at inflated prices.
The research about private versus public health care is universally conclusive: private, for-profit health care costs more. A library full of studies have been done looking at the comparative costs -the Conference Board of Canada, Canadian Institute for Health Information, Wellesley Institute, Consumers' Association of Canada and the Parkland Institute have all done substantive research on the topic.
Their conclusions are the same: Canadians and Albertans would be wise to stick with a publicly financed, publicly administered, single-payer health-care system.