“Private health care has not been discussed in our government . . . I am reassuring people that’s not part of the plan,” said Minister for Seniors and Community Supports Mary Anne Jablonski in a front-page article in the Aug. 29 Red Deer Advocate.
Back in December, Jablonski’s Seniors Department announced it was freezing the number of long-term care beds while adjusting the way fees are set to “encourage more investment by the non-profit or private sector.”
But, “Private operators want more for long-term care” trumpets an Edmonton Journal story published on April 23.
“John Tuckwell, spokesman for Alberta Health and Wellness, said the consultation process was done under the authority of Alberta’s Seniors Department, with health officials listening in,” according to that story.
Jablonski’s own officials heard that “private corporations won’t build long-term care facilities in the province unless they are able to charge at least $100 per day for each resident, up from the current maximum of $54. . . . The push for more money came from private facility operators during recent closed-door meetings with the government.”
Meanwhile, Alberta Health Minister Ron Liepert takes no action when private medical clinics offer services reserved for the public system under the Canada Health Act.
“Stephen Duckett, the new CEO of Alberta Health, has a mandate to shake things up — and he is,” according to the Aug. 16 Edmonton Journal.
“More reliance on the private sector to deliver publicly funded services is in the works — within the confines of the Canada Health Act,” says Duckett. “Will we see more private delivery of publicly funded health services? Yes, I’m much more open to that.”
More reassurances please, Minister Jablonski.
Friends of Medicare