As the Alberta government continues to be embroiled in the soap-opera-like drama unfolding in Alberta Health Services (AHS) – including booting MLA RaJ Sherman from caucus, firing AHS CEO Stephen “Cookie Monster” Duckett, and dealing with the resignation of four (and counting) members of the AHS board of directors – a leaked 27-page internal document reveals that the Stelmach Conservatives have plans for Alberta’s health care system which include delisting health services, allowing doctors to move between public and private systems, and allowing new kinds of private insurance to operate in the province. You can view the documents in four parts on the Friends of Medicare website (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV)
Sherman, who until a week ago was the province’s parliamentary assistant for health, summed up the plan succinctly, saying in an interview with the Edmonton Journal, “This is basically privatizing health care. My understanding is that phase two is coming after the next election, and I absolutely can’t support that.”
The provincial advocacy group, Friends of Medicare says that the revelations in the leaked documents underscore the importance of stopping the introduction of the government’s new Alberta Health Act (Bill 17), which the government is trying to push through before the end of the Legislative session.
Friends of Medicare is encouraging Albertans to call their MLA at 780-310-0000 to demand Bill 17 be scrapped. Friends of Medicare is also planning a rally at the Legislature on Saturday, December 4 at 1:00 pm to protest the range of health care crises that have arisen in the last few months in Alberta.
Perhaps in an attempt to shift the story, the province today also released a new five-year plan for health care in the province, promising amongst other things more beds, surgeries and continuing care spaces.