Media Release: A vote for Kenney and the UCP puts health care at risk

For Immediate Release
February 26, 2019

A vote for Kenney and the UCP puts health care at risk

Two-tier, U.S.-style health care is a core ideology of Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party (UCP) and they will move to introduce it in Alberta if elected, says the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA).

“Kenney has spoken out in favour of it (link to Kenney clip), his candidates speak in favour of the rich buying their way to the front of the line (link to Rosin clip) and the UCP states it emphatically that they will ‘give Albertans the choice of privately funded, privately delivered health services …’ in its 2018 Policy Declaration (link to UCP website),” says Parker, president of HSAA, the union that represents 26,000 health-care professionals.

“The UCP leader was very careful in signing his health-care ‘guarantee’ last week not to talk about this level of privatization, but we’ve all seen how poor Kenney’s guarantees are. He backtracks on them as soon as they become inconvenient. Kenney says one thing to get votes of undecided Albertans and another, with a wink, to let his base know what’s really happening.

“On the clip, we hear Kenney praise the B.C. Cambie clinic that is actively trying to destroy a health-care system of which Albertans are rightly proud. He also insults dedicated health-care employees by falsely claiming their coffee breaks and need to clean operating rooms are reducing productivity,” says Parker.

“The evidence against introducing the profit motive for medically necessary care is clear. These clinics cherry pick the less complex and cheaper cases, leaving the hard ones for the public system. When problems arise, they dump their patients back onto the public system.

“For-profit clinics don’t reduce wait times because there is a finite number of people to do the work and they work in both public and private streams. They simply mean that rich people buy the way to the front of the line – and they divert dollars from patients to profits,” he says.

“We’ve been down this road before, particularly with Kenney’s hero Ralph Klein. Albertans have made it clear time after time that they don’t want this,” says the HSAA president.

“I spend a lot of time touring health-care worksites across the province talking to thousands of HSAA members. They, like the vast majority of Canadians from coast to coast to coast, see universal, affordable, accessible and inclusive care as a basic human right.

“Kenney’s ideology is that it’s OK for the man in the Rolls-Royce to drive to the front of the health-care line and force the rest of us wait longer, even for vital, life-saving care. In Kenney’s world, hard-working Albertans who earn less than the elite are literally worth less,” says Parker.

“Last year, HSAA launched a campaign to make health care an election issue. We’re glad that we’ve succeeded. Albertans deserve to hear how the system they love will be protected and expanded. Unfortunately, Kenney isn’t being open with the public about his for-profit ideology, but chooses to focus on distractions,” he says.

“Albertans know that health matters. They know they don’t want two-tier care. They also need to know that his guarantees are worthless. Voting for Kenney and the UCP puts health care at risk.”

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MEDIA CONTACT: Terry Inigo-Jones, HSAA Communications, 587-990-3394.