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alberta-health-actThis fall, the Stelmach government wants to make major changes to health care law in Alberta. Considering the Conservatives very poor record on the health care file, this is a cause for serious concern.

The government says the Alberta Health Act will establish several principles to run the system, but it gives no specifics. Current laws have specific language that protects and maintains a universal public health care system. Any change that weakens these laws will lead to a parallel, two-tier for-profit health care system that relies on private insurance.

Alberta’s current health laws set specific standards for health care, especially in nursing home care. Any change that weakens these standards means you and your family could pay more, and end up with a lot less.

The Stelmach government has appointed Edmonton MLA Fred Horne and a committee of representatives to undertake consultation about the new Alberta Health Act this Spring and Summer. Horne and the committee are scheduled to provide their report by September 30th and the new Alberta Health Act is expected to be brought before the Legislature for the fall 2010 session.

For years now, this government has been pursuing an aggressive policy of private contracts to deliver public services. This has resulted in extensive privatization in Senior’s care and very difficult situations like the Health Resource Center private hospital Calgary going bankrupt.

Now, the government says that Alberta health law exceeds the requirements of the Canada Health Act and requires “revision”. This is a definite cause for alarm!

Current Alberta health laws reinforce the Canada Health Act and provide some specific standards for our health system to function. The Canada Health Act offers guiding principles. Alberta’s Medicare laws provide specifics.

If the government weakens our provincial laws into vague language with no teeth, Albertans would be left exposed to extra-billing, de-listing of services, private insurance and an explosion of private health care.

“Consultation” moving fast
Announced on April 29, the government’s “consultation” on completely revamping Alberta’s health laws will take place mainly in June.

It is vitally important Albertans participate in this consultation and let government know they are concerned and aware of what is going on with this major change.

The 12 local Health Advisory Councils will host a series of community-based consultations across Alberta to seek input about the forthcoming health legislation.

Website “survey”
The survey is carefully designed to support the government’s plan, but Albertans should fill it out and add their comments.
http://www.health.alberta.ca/initiatives/your-health-act.html
Call the government’s advisory committee have your say.
Call toll-free in Alberta: 310-4455
Email: health.ahinform@gov.ab.ca

For more information or general inquiries regarding the consultation:
Email: yourhealthact@buksa.com
Call: 1-888-436-0986

Friends of Medicare taking action
Watch for more information from Friends of Medicare about the survey and Health Act consultation meetings.
www.friendsofmedicare.org
Or call 780 423-4581

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