Alberta is a dangerous place for seniors.
Consider some events over the past year.
• The Demographic Planning Commission produced a report that is used as a scare-tactic for the Alberta government, It is a blueprint for cuts against seniors. It started with the Pharmaceutical Strategy.
• Seniors have become the only group of Albertans who will pay an income-based fee on medically necessary services. While this fee is really a tax, it begs the question of why the government is addressing its revenue problem through seniors’ drug coverage? Why is the government looking at seniors’ life savings and not at generic drugs? Why do we penalize seniors for saving for retirement during their working life?
• The obvious concern about the new pharmacare initiatives is: will means testing come to other Alberta health programs? Where did the universality of health services go?
• Privatizations and P3s in long-term care seem to benefit only the private sector. Aside from the fundamental role conflict in the government being both a partner/funder and a monitor in (eg.) long-term care, the financial aspects of P3s are so expensive that they are often called “mortgaging your grandchildren’s future.”
• In Alberta, we are seeing cutbacks to elective surgery and hospital closures — cutbacks to essential surgeries such as cataracts, hips and knees. Shortages of long-term care beds are blocking active treatment beds. Pediatric services are being offered out of tents at the University of Alberta Hospital and chiropractic care has been delisted.
What are our politicians thinking, given that seniors are the largest voting block of all citizens?
Downloading costs to seniors is now a hallmark of the Alberta government.
Indeed, there seems to be an “attitude” within the Alberta government that once a course of action has been struck, no amount of logic will sway the course, legitimate criticism is labelled “fear mongering.”
Has the government stopped listening to its electorate?
Yes, Alberta is a dangerous place for its seniors.
We need to speak up. Send your opinions to your MLAs with copies to the opposition.
After all, if we don’t, who will?
Council on Aging