Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"A danger to themselves and to patients"

"(This government) is a danger to themselves and to patients.  That would be reason to certify this government under the Mental Health Act to the Alberta Hospital Edmonton, but guess what?  There's no room. They're going to blow it up." Former Tory MLA and Emergency Room physician Doctor Raj Sherman
Premier Ed Stelmach said he wanted no part of Ralph Klein's war against the public healthcare system.  Virtually his first act after winning the Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership race was a firm renunciation of Klein's Third Way and a promise that the era of unending government assault on public healthcare was finally over.

And then he put far right ideologue and all around disgusting human being Ron Liepert in charge of the system and merged the highly effective and world recognized regional health board system into one bloated ineffective superboard because the regional boards kept noisily demanding the funding necessary to provide the care Albertans needed.  When Liepert managed to sicken and disgust all the health stakeholders and the general public with his intrinsic swinishness he was replaced with the more soothing and moderate sounding but utterly ineffectual former Liberal floor crosser Gene 'Mr Dithers' Zwosdesky.

An Australian health economist was hired who on paper at least looked like a supporter of public healthcare, but in practice turned out to be an arrogant, supercilious prat who seemed more concerned with chilling dissent from the front lines than giving them the support they needed.  The worst kind of bureaucrat, even if he was only enforcing the policies of the Alberta Government and working with the budget they gave him.

Now the mask has slipped.  One of their own has revealed the hidden agenda to manufacture the consent for the same old Tory anti-healthcare agenda.
EDMONTON — A leaked internal document from the Alberta government shows the ruling Tories plan to privatize health care after the next provincial election, opposition parties are charging.
The 27-page internal Alberta Health and Wellness presentation suggests the provincial government has a two-part plan to delist health services, legalize new kinds of private insurance and allow doctors to provide public and private health care at the same time.
Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky denied the allegations late Monday, but exiled Conservative MLA Dr. Raj Sherman confirmed its authenticity and slammed the government's plan.
"This is basically privatizing health care," said Sherman, who was Zwozdesky's parliamentary assistant until he was ousted from the Tory caucus last week for criticizing his own government's record on health care. "My understanding is that phase two is coming after the next election, and I absolutely can't support that."

For example, the presentation explains that health care providers don't have a level playing field, because doctors must opt in or out of the public system entirely while midwives and pharmacists can work in both sectors at the same time.
Consequently, the document calls for a "policy shift" that would "allow government the flexibility to regulate health provider commitment in the public system."
Another section — titled "Private Insurance Options" — says "there is no evidence that private insurance negatively impacts a public health system" and that "prohibiting private insurance limits choice in accessing publicly funded health services within Alberta."
The document then calls for a "policy shift" to "consider private insurance options for limited health services."
Finally, phase two calls on government to develop an "evidence-based process to determine health services that are fully funded, partially funded and unfunded services." Opposition parties see that as evidence the government plans to delist services.
"This shows clear evidence the government is entertaining notions of private insurance, a two-tiered system and a move toward what we believe is going to undermine the very foundations of the Canada Health Act," Liberal Leader David Swann said. "I think we should take this very seriously."
NDP Leader Brian Mason said the document is proof the Conservatives cannot be trusted with health care.
"This is, in fact, the smoking gun," he said. "In my view, this is more than a policy document. This is a strategic document, a political strategy, if you will."
This is a party with a deep ideological loathing for the very concept of 'public good'.  They hate Canada's 'socialized' healthcare system, not least, for just how effective, affordable and efficient it is.  It's an ongoing example of how the public sector does some things much, much better than the private sector does.  Plus it leaves money on the table that every fiber of their political DNA tells them should be in the pockets of rich insurance company executives and private clinic entrepreneurs.

They will keep trying this shit until they are driven from office. 

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