With reference to the new “Pharmaceutical Strategy” and senior health care in Alberta, I have many major concerns.
Many seniors who are being asked to pay large amounts for their prescriptions are on a fixed income and savings that have been reduced due to the economic situation.
As a result, they will not be able to afford medications that are necessary and will further impose a real increase in usage of already strained hospital services as their health situation worsens due to inadequate medication. Costs for necessary prescriptions would be much less than hospital care.
Mid- and upper-income seniors are being asked to pay up to seven per cent of their after-tax income for prescription drugs on top of their Alberta 10 per cent flat tax. Why is this group being singled out to pay this? Is this Conservative government moving away from their policy of a flat tax system?
Why is this group of seniors being asked to divulge private and personnel information about their income? Is this not contrary to Canadian Bill of Rights? Does this Conservative government feel they can act regardless of Canadian laws? The Canada Health Act requires universality. Why is this government acting in violation of this fundamental Canadian right?
Health insurance plans to cover this increased cost for many seniors will increase considerably. Alberta Blue Cross premiums are set to triple on July 1! Seniors with pre-existing conditions may not be able to get coverage or it will be very expensive.
This policy creates another bureaucratic mess to administer for pharmacists and the government, all of which will cost million of dollars.
Why has this Conservative government not fulfilled its promise to create 600 more senior nursing care beds for seniors needing these beds?
Why are you closing down existing senior facilities? With the increase in the senior population needing care, you have frozen the number of care beds for several years. This will mean more seniors occupying expensive hospital beds. This makes no sense to most thinking people but your government continues this type of policy!
Norway is a country similar to Alberta in resource base and population size. They have universal health care with no modifications such as you are proposing. They also have a Heritage Fund with many billions of dollars that will be used to look after their people for decades if needed. Are Albertans and their governments not as clever as those of Norway?
While only 29 per cent of Albertans voted for the government in the last election, I suspect the biggest group in that were seniors. The above actions, policy and behaviour of the government is the way to ensure these voters will not be supporting the Conservative government in the next election.
W. M. Gibson