UCP vows to maintain health spending
The United Conservative Party has promised there will be no cuts to health-care spending if elected this spring.
“We would maintain or increase spending while trying to get more bang for the taxpayers’ buck by pushing resources out to the frontline doctors and nurses who treat patients, instead of the managers who manage managers. Less administrative bureaucracy rationing resources and more care with shorter wait times for Albertans,” said UCP Leader Jason Kenney.
Kenney unveiled part of his party’s plan for health care in Alberta on Wednesday by signing what he calls his "health care guarantee."
“We are doing so because the NDP is engaged in the classic ‘medi-scare’ campaign,” he said.
“The health minister has claimed outrageously that we intend to blow up hospitals across the province and slash spending by 20 per cent. That’s simply not true.”
NDP Health Minister Sarah Hoffman reacted to Kenney’s plan.
“I think we all know that Jason Kenney can’t be trusted with public health care,” she said.
“It’s really hard to say what he would exactly do, and that’s one of the reasons why he’s coming out there and doing these grandiose signing a big piece of paper. But even that big piece of paper would mean billions of dollars of cuts, potentially, from the health-care system and I think that’s really damaging.”
According to the UCP plan, a review of the provincial health care system would be requested within 90 days of being elected.
“We need people who see what’s wrong every day to help us put it right and this performance review will give a strong voice to our nurses and doctors and those who work with them in support services to tell us how we could do things more efficiently,” said Kenney.
He said Albertans are not getting the service they’re paying for. He added that any savings found in administration would be reinvested on the frontlines.
Although details aren’t yet being disclosed, the UCP plan would also look at increasing private health care options for Albertans.
“What I’ve said all along which is that choice and competition can help get better results at lower costs,” Kenney said.
Kenney referred to a system in Saskatchewan where private surgical clinics are allowed to bid to perform surgery on behalf of the public system, often costing less.
“We’re open to that common sense type of competition,” he said.
“Basically what we’re saying here today is that we are committed as a core principle to maintaining and defending the universal publicly-insured system so that no one has to pay out of their pocket to get care,” he added.
“I think what he’s saying is, ‘We’re going to double down on a motion that we passed around having more private delivery of a number of different services,’” said Hoffman.
“We know that public health care is too important to privatize and outsource so we’re investing in communities and we’re continuing to run on that record of stable public health care for all Albertans.”
The UCP plans to release further details around its health care platform in the near future.