Reimbursement panels panel

Panel to probe health legislation

A new advisory committee appointed by government to find “a new way to define publicly funded health services” is not about delisting services or cutting costs, but about strengthening the system for patients, Alberta’s health minister says.

“I believe that Albertans want the assurance that the government has a plan to modernize our system and make it more effective and ensure that the system is there when they need it and that starts by having clear, effective legislation,” Health Minister Ron Liepert said on Tuesday about the work of a 16-member committee.

The committee will recommend which health-service providers and facilities should be part of a publicly funded system as guided by the Canada Health Act.

Not everyone is as excited about the single payer monopsony government re-writing of what’s covered as the government is, however.

…”The system is in a mess,” [Liberal MLA Hugh] MacDonald said, noting long emergency wait times, MRI cancellations at the Grey Nuns and Misericordia hospitals, and a $1-billion health-region deficit. “The government doesn’t know what to do, so they strike a committee so that they can conveniently pass the ball off.”

I do suspect that if MacDonald were in government he’d have less problem with this panel. However, health care is 100% politicized in Canada so he pretty much has to say something like that. Some other party hack would be saying it if Mr. MacDonald’s party were the government, though. And they’d both be right.

It “is not about delisting services or cutting costs, but about strengthening the system for patients”. If true, what’s the problem?

Maybe it’s the bit about “clear, effective legislation” being some sort of panacea. This cheerfully ignores the fact that it’s legislation thought to be clear and effective in the first place that got them into this mess. Legislation that killed free market health care.

“This exercise is not about delisting services or privatizing our publicly funded health-care system, one that has served Albertans well and will continue to do so in the future,” Liepert said. “What I’m talking about is expanding and improving what we already have, making our health system more responsive to the needs of Albertans.”

Uh Huh. Well, I’ll be interested in the recommendations, because there will only be trivial differences under Obamacare.