UCP plan to privatize health care is wrong for Alberta

Alberta Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann has released the following statement regarding the UCP’s plans to privatize health care:

“Those who have a better understanding of how health care works in Alberta know that introducing more private options at this time is wrongheaded. In fact, experience has taught us that the profit motive has not served us well in health care. A properly managed public system can and will deliver a higher quality of care for a lower cost.

“Before making drastic, fundamental changes to health care delivery, Alberta first needs to address the systemic issues from increasing physician and pharmaceutical costs, unnecessary waste and bureaucracy, to long waits at every stage along the spectrum: primary, acute and continuing care.

“The issue of wait times stems directly from the fact that there is a severe lack of investment in disease and injury prevention and a chronic underinvestment in public community care and home care.

“The Health Quality Council of Alberta’s Focus on Emergency Departments website clearly indicates that acute care facilities are consistently running near capacity, at times overcapacity, due to the exceedingly high number of alternate level of care patients.

“Long waits and surgery cancellations are a direct result of acute care hospitals being used to warehouse patients who are better served elsewhere. The NDP has failed to deliver on its pledge to build 2,000 new public long-term care spaces. This is just the first step in the process of getting caught up on our backlogs, which it still hasn’t taken.

“Until the government addresses these root causes, no amount of investment in public or private service providers will alleviate this problem.

“Alberta Liberals know how to fix health care by making these strategic investments and eliminating waste. It is certainly not by asking the sick to pay more or setting up a systematic queue-jumping scheme.

“Albertans should reject the UCP based on this proposal alone. It is not in line with our values as a society, and it will ultimately exacerbate the challenges in our universal health care system.”

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