Media Release: Budget 2020 is Death Knell for public health care in Alberta

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) President Mike Parker calls out the UCP for what they are…destroyers of public health care.

Edmonton – Two days after committing to preserve a high-quality public health care system, the Kenney government has changed its tune in the Budget. Protecting public health care was called essential in the throne speech, but the word public has been dropped from the budget.

“Preserving a high-quality public health care system is essential.”
                                                                                             (February 25, 2020 Alberta Throne Speech)

“Protecting quality health care is a key priority for the government.”
                                                                                            (February 27, 2020 Alberta Budget pg. 152)

“This is proof any claim made by the UCP that they are protecting the public system is a lie,” said Parker, “Kenney and his current health minister can use weasel words like ‘publicly funded’ all they want, but Albertans are already seeing the dismantling of the public system and Budget 2020 shows the UCP path to privatization.”

The UCP is giving several hundred million dollars of public money to private providers as part of their Alberta Surgery Initiative. The Health Minister has already announced that private clinics will be paid to perform 80,000 more surgeries over the next four years – an increase of 100%. Parker asks, “Why is the UCP intent on funneling money to private providers when their own research shows the infrastructure and staffing already exist for those surgeries to be done in the public system. Why?”

The Ernst and Young performance review of Alberta Health Services concluded operating rooms in Alberta are only being utilized 71 per cent of the time and 18,713 more surgeries could be done in the public system every year or about 75,000 extra surgeries over four years.

“Just imagine what we could do to lower wait times for Albertans if the UCP simply utilized the public system to its potential,” said Parker… “but patients aren’t their priority, giving millions to private providers is. Every cent of the money set aside for the Alberta Surgical Initiative should go to improving the public system. Public health matters to all of us. Let’s not destroy it. Let’s make it better.”

HSAA is nearly 28,000 health-care professionals dedicated to protecting the public health system and the vulnerable Albertans who rely on it.

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Media inquiries:
Kirk  Heuser,  HSAA Communications Officer
780-690-8199 | kirkh@hsaa.ca