September 25th, 2016

PCs” Reality check — Wildrose wait time guarantee


By Lethbridge Herald on April 20, 2015.

ISSUE
The Wildrose platform promises they would “implement a ‘Wait Time Guarantee’ that will reduce surgical and specialist wait times by funding needed services for Alberta patients outside the provincial system should timely access to medically necessary procedures be unavailable; the cost up to the Government rate to have that same procedure performed in the public system would go to the health provider.” At the Wildrose press conference earlier today, leader Brian Jean was quoted as saying, “we expect people to go to other provinces or the US.”
REALITY CHECK
The Wildrose plan opens the door to a two-tired health system that is based on the ability to pay as opposed to medical need and supports queue jumping.
KEY MESSAGES
The Wildrose’s wait time policy proposes to use tax dollars to support queue jumping for the wealthy and creates two classes of patients. Wealthy Albertans can take money from the public system and spend it in the US or another province, leaving less money to invest in Alberta’s health care system.
The Wildrose’s initial estimate is that $180 million per year would be taken from the public system to support this program (based on 2012 platform costing).
Rather than investing in the Alberta system, Wildrose is willing to export public healthcare dollars to private providers  outside Alberta – but only for those who can afford to get there.
We don’t believe that Albertans want their government to decide who gets to see a doctor first on the basis of how much money they earn. Wait time priority should be based on medical need and not what’s in your wallet.
It is worth questioning whether the Wildrose platform actually contravenes the Canada Health Act and abandons the principle of universal health care.
KEY FACTS
Alberta’s health budget has been growing by approximately 5.8 percent a year since 1994 and now stands at nearly $19 billion.
Alberta wait times have improved in a number of areas over the past year, including hip replacements, knee replacements, and cataract surgeries.
The PC Party supports public funding for Alberta’s public health care system.

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