Privatizing health care is not the solution for problems
Re: Time to fix health care, August 29.
In his recent column, Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson stated things as fact that have no connection to the truth – and offered no evidence to back his claims.
It appears that he and others who want to privatize our health-care system live by the adage that if you say something often enough, people will begin to believe it, no matter how untrue.
It’s time to correct these dangerous misconceptions.
Using Statistics Canada CANSIM data, Kevin Taft demonstrates that “Alberta spends slightly less per capita on public health care than other provinces” in his book Follow the Money.
That’s the opposite of Anderson’s allegation.
To refute his claim of “shockingly poor” results for Alberta health care, we need look no further that the experts at the Canadian Institute for Health Information, who produced a report earlier this year.
It says that Canada’s health-care system was third in the G7 countries, using the rate of avoidable mortality as the measuring stick. Among the provinces and territories, Alberta was third best in life expectancy and fourth best in cancer incidence rates, hardly “shockingly poor.”
As for his contention that public health care is a culprit and that introducing a profit motive is the solution – once again, the facts tell a different story.
The University of Alberta’s Parkland Institute recently published two reports looking at privately delivered health care. Their research shows that private, for-profit surgeries cost more and that the quality of care in for-profit long-term and continuing-care facilities is “significantly poorer” than in public facilities.
Albertans are understandably exasperated by the problems in their health-care system, including the recent expenses scandal and executive bonuses. However, if we really want to fix health care, we must stick to the facts and not rely on rhetoric fuelled by misplaced ideology.
The biggest culprit in health care is constant political upheaval. Incessant restructuring and a history of roller-coaster funding from the Alberta government have created turmoil for decades. Recent attempts at funding stability appear once again to be at risk. Last week’s bad-news budget update proved once again that our revenue system is too reliant on volatile resource prices. Allowing the system to establish some structural stability, and a return to a revenue system where corporations pay their fair share in taxes and royalties, rather than letting them hoard massive profits, will ensure that we can build and afford the kind of health care that Albertans deserve.