Saturday, December 20, 2008

Two Tier Alberta Redux

The Stelmach government made several announcements this week concerning seniors. All of them are about their plan to end universality and create a two tier system of seniors service.
Alberta seniors who can afford it to be able to buy extra care
Ironically one of those announcements backfired.
Seniors won't pay for braces, artificial limbs
seniors earning more than $21000 were going to be required to pay part of the cost of the devices that had been free.
And while the government quickly backtracked claiming that it was all a miscommunication, it wasn't. The government is giving with one hand and taking away with another.
Alberta opening doors to for-profit drug providers for seniors
As of January 2010, the Stelmach government will eliminate its universal Alberta Blue Cross benefit for the province’s elderly and replace it with a new income-based system that opens the door to “private, for-profit health insurance companies,” says Elisabeth Ballermann, president of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE).
So despite the backpedaling on one miscommunication, the reality is that the government does not have a leg to stand on when it says it is improving seniors care in the province. It is introducing two tiered seniors care. And with that can two tiered health care be far behind?
David Eggen, executive director for Friends of Medicare, said the government's move to charge well-off seniors jeopardizes the universality of health care. "We're very concerned about all the Albertans targeted for increases," Eggen said. "Seniors should be upset after they have been paying into the system their entire lives and then the rules change."
And while the government is claiming wealthy seniors can pay for more care services the reality is that in B.C. such programs have hurt those who cannot afford it. B.C. like Alberta has promoted P3's.
PORT ALBERNI — On Wednesday of this week it was reported that the former residents of Cowichan Lodge are now paying more at the P-3 Sunridge Place. When the Government fired all the workers at Cowichan Lodge and forced the residents to leave a publicly funded facility and move into Sunridge Place, VIHA and the Government promised no extra fees and better service. The extra costs are reported by one patient to be approx $300 per month. This is how the private part of the partnership makes money. They have to charge for “extras” that used to be covered in the main costs at the publicly funded facility. The government may be still paying the same amount per patient, but the company can’t make a profit on that unless they slash wages, lower services and increase “user fees.” This equals less care and more costs for our retired elderly workers and their families. Is this what we want for our parents or ourselves? With many seniors’ loss of assets due to the market downturn these extra charges are even more mean spirited than usual.

Two Tier Alberta
Medicare Calgary Style

Find blog posts, photos, events and more off-site about:, , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments: