January 15th, 2021

Alta. health care in ‘crisis,’ SACPA told

By Jensen, Randy on September 11, 2020.

Friend of Medicare executive director Sandra Azocar, seen speaking to reporters in 2019, was the featured presenter for Thursday's Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs online session. Herald file photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald


The Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs welcomed Friends of Medicare executive director Sandra Azocar for a special presentation on the state of public health care in Alberta. In a word, said Azocar, under the UCP government that state is “crisis.”

Taking aim at the MacKinnon blue ribbon panel, and particularly the Ernst and Young report commissioned by the UCP to justify its changes to nine separate pieces of public health-care legislation under the omnibus Bill 30, Azocar said “this report basically served to provide an ideological fodder for this government to start the process of privatizing our health-care system by contracting out and reducing health-care services available to Albertans. Their recommendations outlined in this report ultimately had the potential to turn over resources, health-care dollars and staff to private companies that will be subsidized by public health-care dollars rather than building up the solid foundation we have in our health care.”

She gave numerous examples of how the UCP has moved forward on this through, to her mind, disturbing legislative changes, its professed desire to have 30 per cent of surgeries performed at private surgery facilities in the future, its recent announcement it would be using public dollars to create more senior-care spaces with private providers, and its ongoing dispute with the Alberta Medical Association.

The Kenney government has often said allowing more private companies to deliver public health-care services will not impact ordinary Albertans, because the bill, at the end of the day, will still be sent to the government rather than the individual.

Azocar acknowledged there may be some who might then say it is no big deal to invite these companies into our health-care system. However, she said, the battle for public health care is not about the expediency of the moment: it is about ensuring equal access to health care for all going forward.

“That is the narrative the government is using to sell the contracting out of surgical facilities,” she confirmed. “In a way when we are sick, and we want the service and need the service, you’re right – it doesn’t matter where you go.

“However, if we think outside of that immediacy to get the help we also have to think long term when it comes to health care. And we need to think about what kind of system we are helping to create that ultimately could have the potential to turn into a for-profit system where I, or somebody else who has more money than I, wants to get in quicker. It opens up the possibilities of queue-jumping. It opens up the possibility of an inequity that is created when we introduce profit and the medical entrepreneur model into this situation.”

Azocar said Albertans must speak up for public health care and let the government know their public dollars should be spent on public health care rather than on subsidizing for-profit companies.

“I don’t blame anybody who needs the help, and who wants it now,” she said, “but what we should be focusing on is not bringing in private solutions. Rather, we should be focusing on expanding our capacity within our public system so people don’t have to wait. So people don’t have to be in a situation where they have to pay out of pocket for any type of health care.”

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I lived in the USA for five years without health insurance, which no one who made under $40,000 a year could afford without a job that offered it, albeit after usually a 6 month waiting period. The deductibles still hovered around $500, and even if you had the option it was essentially unaffordable.

At any rate, one emergency room visit cost me $4000.00

That was when the doctor could see me for about 10 minutes after waiting I don’t know how long to see him. He simply wrote me a script for painkillers and said the surgery I needed would be $20,000 to $40,000 depending on where I went.
I immediately scheduled the surgery to happen in canada, where I paid $0.
The $4000 broke down to around $3000 for the emergency room visit, and just under $1000 for the shot of painkiller they gave me (Dilauded, it’s GREAT)
Americans have the worst health care system in the world and the UCP want to replicate that here, again, because they DO NOT care about you.

They only care about the corporate actors who fund their campaigns and will hire them AFTER they are done in politics. Harper has a cushy job paid for by the people he lined the pockets of while in office.

They do not care about you. You are meaningless to them, whether you repeat their taglines and be on their team or not.


UCP plan:
– – Degrade the medical services in this province so the taxpayer jumps for a private sector healthcare! It is all unfolding before your eyes, but everyone is sitting back, yawning and thinking, what is all the kerfuffle about . . . !!!???
It is all about our healthcare system being destroyed and inaccessible to many Albertans. The UCP has being on a mission to turn the AHS into a private sector run corporation, along with their EMS services and that is why the EMS dispatch centralization is only the beginning!
Anyone who was paying attention to the news and the hospitals in the US going into bankruptcy or serious financial hardships due to COVID and the cancellation of all their money making surgeries should wake-up and realize we are in trouble if we allow this government to tear down our health-care system . . . not sure why they call it healthcare anymore, because under this government, it is all about the bottom dollar and not lives . . . lives mean nothing, we are expendable . . . thinning of the herds!
The AHS run SCS generated addicts while slowly killing many off! The AHS is forcing our community paid EMS services to be dispatched by people 150 – 350 miles away, using mapping technology (glorified Google Maps – – who many were lead astray by it) that do not have knowledge of the landmarks, the coulee trails, the fastest way to get from point A to B, all because they think they will save $6 million provincially, while their new dispatch center already cost $13 million and now many communities that were forced into their plan want out after increased costs, degradation of their EMS responses and the AHS not being accountable . . . it is like a Nazi regime is now in control in this province!!!
Why do we vote if they do not listen? Dictators . . . and everyone is sitting back and saying ho-hum . . . nothing we can do about it!!!
Say good-bye to your free healthcare and prepare to pay for every visit to the doctors . . . and what will you do when your hospital or clinic goes bankrupt!!!
Most of the clinics in the city are already run by a US company!!!
Wake up . . . I say again . . . Wake up!!