Alberta Healthcare Reform

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Calgary Mountain View

Dear Constituents,

I hope you received and enjoyed my Constituency newsletter last month. Please let my constituency staff know if you did need help accessing provincial government programs, including healthcare, WCB, or seniors supports.

The NDP government released their budget. Alberta will have another staggering $9 billion deficit for 2018-19 with debt load approaching $56B. This spending is in spite of serious cuts to Alberta Environment monitoring and enforcement and will not reduce class sizes or improve post-secondary maintenance or meet cost-of-living increase for AISH recipients. Given this high debt load it is time to have an adult conversation about tax reform on behalf of future generations, including a PST/HST.

AB Healthcare reform is required. We continue to spend more on healthcare than elsewhere, yet remain plagued with long EMS wait times, surgical waiting lists, and insufficient mental health services. Current AHS data indicates EMS staff wait a 1-hour median when transferring a patient to ER—almost $20 million a year in lost time. A FOIP shows that Alberta’s paramedics worked 135,000 hours of overtime in 2016. That’s almost $10 million in extra wage costs for exhausted professionals! Clearly there are ways to cut spending without cutting services.

In the past Alberta has had some of the highest medication costs in Canada. Pharmaceutical drugs are in a confusing time. Provincial governments have negotiated excellent prices for consumers on generic drugs but caused production shortages of 70 commonly used medications, forcing pharmacists to choose name-brand alternatives (usually more expensive). In addition, the pharmacists are upset by the dramatic loss of significant income this coming year which could have been adjusted over several years to help pharmacists adjust and maintain services. Governments are going to have to get back to the bargaining table and sort this out!

Please let me know your thoughts on this.