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Letter: Stop privatizing our health system

The “Klein Third Way disaster” Series Two is now proposed by Jason Kenney and UCP

The UCP government is continuing its relentless path to the privatization of healthcare.

It is following the policy and example of the American Republican party which in my opinion Premier Jason Kenney and his followers seem to admire. Kenney is taking pride in refusal to fit in Confederation and working with federal and other Canadians to counter COVID waves.

During these difficult times of COVID waves, he is proposing private solutions, while promoting incremental privatization through policy/regulatory decisions by his provincial government. Eventually gutting the Canada Health Act, a bit at a time: deeming diagnostic imaging to be non-insured; and allowing concierge clinics, private diagnostic imaging clinics and private surgical clinics to set up in the first place.

Locally the Red Deer Hospital is an example of the neglect and lack of commitment by his government for a facility that serves a large area for most major health services, such as surgery and cancer treatment but has long been short in capacity.

There has been strong advocacy, and requests by Red Deer and Central Alberta civic and medical authorities, for increased capacity, through a new hospital and renovation of existing facilities.

As a result of the privatization by stealth, patients are now faced with an array of charges amounting to hundreds or even thousands of dollars when they go to private clinics for diagnosis or treatment. Moreover, private clinics have been shown to contribute to longer wait times by siphoning physicians and resources from the public system.

Private clinics are threatening public healthcare in Canada and the laws that protect patients are not being enforced. Kenney’s poor judgement, low popularity and his relentless ideological right-wing drive to privatisation is inflicting major harm to us. A harm that the upcoming UCP leadership convention will not fix, but an election and change in government will.

Sam Denhaan, Red Deer

Editor’s note: This letter was written before the province’s announcement of expanding the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre on Wednesday.