Alberta Liberals believe in high-quality public healthcare for all. We oppose backdoor privatization efforts, and we support frontline healthcare workers. Our policies are designed to ensure all Albertans have timely access to world-class healthcare.
Our healthcare plan is a holistic approach. It emphasizes mental health, preventative care and preparing for the demographic shift that will see more seniors in our healthcare system than ever before. The Liberal approach offers the vision needed to meet tomorrow's challenges and improve health care today.
We can reduce the cost of our healthcare system by targeted spending in those areas that drive down long-term costs.
It is more cost-efficient to keep people healthy than to treat them when they're sick, and continuing-care spaces are less expensive than acute-care beds. So that is why we would invest in both continuing and preventative care.
Our plan will:
- Create new long-term care spaces.
- Work with non-profit and faith-based providers to deliver long-term care spaces at half the cost.
- Invest in preventative care, home care, and assisted living.
- Create a Preventative Care Task Force to explore best practices in nutrition, health education, addiction treatment, screening, prevention and team-based community care.
Mental Health and Addictions.
One-fifth of Albertans will be affected by mental illness in their life, yet only a tiny fraction of the healthcare budget goes towards mental health.
The Alberta Liberal plan would close this spending gap through a funding increase of $600 million over the next four years. We will provide $150 million in new funding. In addition, we will gradually redirect $450 million in existing funding over the next four years. This will expand services, drive down long-term healthcare costs and save lives.
We also recognize the need to address the long-term mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts warn of an echo pandemic of mental health problems that will affect Albertans for years to come. That is why we have proposed a COVID-19 Mental Health Task Force charged with determining what issues we will be facing and what services we will need to address them.
Emergency Medical Services.
Alberta Liberals are committed to implementing best practices from across the globe to implement a 15-minute patient transfer time from ambulance to emergency room.
We also support reversing the consolidation of EMS dispatching. We stand with the municipalities that have opposed this move because it will slow the arrival of first responders.
Opioid Crisis and Addictions.
Two Albertans die each day from opioid overdoses. Overdose deaths have peaked during the COVID-19 crisis. Despite this, the UCP has pursued an ideological approach to addictions that ignores evidence and risks even more lives. Our opioid and addictions strategy includes:
- Declaring the Opioid Crisis a Public Health Emergency.
- Reversing all suspensions and cuts to harm reduction programs
- Funding more detox and treatment beds.
- Making addiction treatment and counselling medication-free.
- Expanding the availability of treatment drugs such as suboxone, hydromorphone and methadone.
People suffering from drug addiction and abuse aren't criminals. They suffer from either or both physical and mental illnesses. Punitive action worsens the stigma around addiction and makes it harder for people to seek help. We believe in lobbying the federal government to follow the lead of Portugal in decriminalizing the possession of small quantities of drugs to better combat addiction. We would redirect savings from the justice system into addiction treatment.
Affordable Dental Care.
A lack of access to dental care isn't just about cosmetics or comfort and can result in serious health implications such as infections and even death. We believe in working towards universal dental care with the federal government. But, in the meantime, we can make dental care more affordable by:
- Providing $50 million for expanding the availability and reach of affordable, community-based dental care.
- Putting pressure on the Alberta Dental Association and College to allow dentists greater freedom to advertise their services and lift restrictions on dentists offering promotions or special pricing for groups such as seniors or children.
- Making the Dental Fee Guideline prices mandatory for essential services.
- Alberta Liberal support fluoridation as a public health measure.
The Alberta Liberals will work with the federal government and our partners in Confederation to implement a national pharmacare plan that provides access to affordable drugs for all Albertans.