“If passed, this legislation has the potential to affect health care across Canada, particularly whether provisions of the Canada Health Act that prohibit extra billing and user charges are undermined” — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Ottawa (28 July 2020) — It is not just the Alberta health care system that could be placed at risk if the Kenney government is successful in passing Bill 30. In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and federal Minister of Health Patty Hajdu, Larry Brown, the President of the National Union of Public Employees (NUPGE), expressed concern that the introduction of a two-tier health care in one province can easily be used to undermine Medicare in all parts of Canada.
“If passed, this legislation has the potential to affect health care across Canada, particularly whether provisions of the Canada Health Act that prohibit extra billing and user charges are undermined,” said Brown.
Bill 30 will privatize much of the Alberta health care system
As a National Union report on Bill 30 explains, the bill will make it easier to privatize health care in Alberta. The bill will repeal existing legislation that is intended to protect the public health care system from contracting out. It will make it easier to set up private clinics—and hide information about the approval process from the public.
This bill is part of the Kenney government's plan to contract out 30% of publicly funded surgeries.
Fewer restrictions on private clinics increases the risk of two-tier health care
Alberta legislation already permits private surgical facilities to perform both publicly funded services and surgeries that are paid for privately. That creates a situation where there is a danger of extra billing or user fees.
As we saw with the Cambie Surgery Centre in British Columbia, unless the activities of private clinic are closely monitored, there is a danger that for-profit operators will try to charge user fees or extra bill. What the situation in British Columbia also shows is that when governments do take action, private clinics will fight tooth and nail to avoid being held accountable.
Kenny and his government failed to learn from COVID-19 pandemic
As the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE) pointed out, Jason Kenney and his government have failed to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic. While there were numerous instances of for-profit health care facilities failing people, Kenney and his government are refusing to reconsider their ideologically driven privatization schemes.
That’s threatening the people of Alberta. And, if Bill 30 is used to bring in two-tier health care, it’s threatening all Canadians.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE