Leave Alberta health laws alone, group urges
Last Updated: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 | 11:02 PM MT Comments33Recommend15.
Alberta's minister of health must scrap proposed changes to the province's health laws because they open the door to privatization, the executive director of Friends of Medicare said Tuesday.
"Make no mistake about it, the Minister's Advisory Committee on Health and their recommendations is no benign exercise," David Eggen said. "It was designed specifically to lay the groundwork for more private health care in this province."
The committee, chaired by Tory MLA Fred Horne, released a report in September with 15 recommendations for changing provincial health laws.
A legal opinion from lawyer Gwen Gray that was solicited by Eggen's group found Alberta's existing legislation protects the system from the introduction of private insurance, extra billing and private hospitals.
Those protections exist only in provincial legislation, not the Canada Health Act, Gray found.
"Alberta's health framework is actually very sound," Eggen said. "There might be room for improvement but there's no need to junk the whole system."
Friends of Medicare believes any new legislation would give Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky the ability to make new health care regulations without putting them to a debate in the legislature.
The group launched a campaign Tuesday in hopes of convincing Zwozdesky to shelve the committee's recommendations and look at issues affecting the delivery of health care in Alberta.