Mason warns of agenda to raise fees

Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason is warning Albertans to watch out for the Progressive Conservative’s secret agenda to significantly increase fees for seniors at care facilities.

Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason speaks to a group of seniors at the Golden Circle on Wednesday afternoon.

Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason speaks to a group of seniors at the Golden Circle on Wednesday afternoon.

Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason is warning Albertans to watch out for the Progressive Conservative’s secret agenda to significantly increase fees for seniors at care facilities.

“The operators are making that clear — if you want us to invest our money in building a for-profit seniors care facility, you’re going to have to make sure there is a revenue stream that we can make money doing so,” said Mason on Wednesday at the Golden Circle.

About 25 people, mostly seniors, came out to the afternoon health care discussion.

Mason said the provincial government also plans to move forward with its plan to cut the number of long-term care beds by 50 per cent and replace them with assisted-living beds.

Long-term care beds are for seniors who require the highest level of care. Assisted living is for patients with higher health needs, but do not yet need to go into long-term care.

“If they continue with this hidden strategy that they’re following, that they’re deliberately keeping from the public, then there are going to be enormous costs to people down the road.”

The PCs would rather rely on for-profit companies to build seniors care facilities as a way to cut health care costs. But government has lower borrowing costs for construction, he said.

“Those costs don’t go away because somebody makes a private investment. (Companies) are going to want to be compensated for that. They are going to want their costs, and a return on top of that. “

“Those costs are all inevitably picked up by the taxpayers as a whole or by individual people who access those services.”

Mason said Albertans can’t trust the PCs with their health care — even with a new leader.

“They’ve shown repeatedly that they’ll say one thing before an election and they’ll do something else after an election. This is a pattern that goes back to Ralph Klein and Ed Stelmach. A change in leadership is not going to change that.”

Mason said they have tried to privatize health care before and they will try again after the next election if they win.

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