By Mabell, Dave on January 9, 2020.
Health-care cuts by today’s government will cost Albertans much more in the future, a Lethbridge audience will be warned this evening.
Budget cuts to children’s services will also bring negative consequences, says longtime public health researcher Sharon Yanicki.
Now an adjunct assistant professor with the Health Sciences faculty at the University of Lethbridge, Yanicki will recommend other alternatives during a public presentation sponsored by Friends of Medicare. It’s set for 7 p.m. in the Community Room in the downtown library.
When government cuts – to seniors’ and partners’ health benefits, for example – increase the number of people living in poverty, Yanicki says the impacts could include people losing their homes or settling for poorer health.
And now the provincial government is looking at imposing a means test for seniors’ prescription benefits, she adds.
“We’re going to have negative impacts that ripple over, that will increase costs” in years to come.
“We have to think about avoiding negative impacts to people who may be living on a fixed income or a lower income.”
Seniors, lower-income families with children and people living with a chronic disease would be particularly vulnerable, Yanicki points out.
By investing in children’s services, on the other hand, she said the province would reduce the impacts of poverty “and increase their ability to do well in school, with early childhood intervention.”
Yet children’s centres across the province still don’t know what funding they’ll receive, she says.
Alberta governments should take the longer-term view on health priorities, Yanicki says, rather than limiting their planning to the four-year election cycle.
Some elected officials will respond to voters’ feedback, she maintains. In Ontario, the Conservative government backtracked on plans to cut services for people on the autism spectrum – after sustained public protests.
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