Klein outlines Alberta’s health-care future with his ‘third way’

By Dale Miller

Premier Ralph Klein spoke frankly of health-care reform at the University of Calgary for the Markin Institute Symposium on 21st Century Public Health, Thu., Feb 1.

Doctors and professors gathered in the Rozsa Centre for the day long event to discuss the future of the Markin Institute, which has a goal to create healthier communities, through research, education, health promotion and disease prevention. The institute was established following a $18 million donation from Dr. Allan Markin last year.

Klein explained his notion of the “third way”, which calls for research into successful health-care systems from around the world to find new ideas for Alberta.

“You have to look for the best ideas you can find, and see if they can work here,” said Klein. “Our first goal has to be helping people stay healthy. Wellness is something people value and strive to attain, it’s not something to take for granted.”

While adamantly suggesting that Alberta is not heading toward the United States’ two-tiered system, Klein suggests that privatization is definitely in the works.

“We need to get the government out of health-care, people with experience should be freed to make decisions,” said Klein. “I think you need the government to a small extent–to set the rules.”

Harry Chase, Calgary’s Liberal Member of the Legislative Assembly for Calgary Varsity agreed with Klein about the need for change, but not in the method.

“As to the notion of a third way, how about we pay attention to fixing the first way,” said Chase, following Klein’s press conference. “There is nothing wrong with pursuing ideas, as long as the ideas aren’t further privatization.

“Health-care will be the next big business, it’s profiting through pain.”

Klein promised a new health-care package by the end of the year.

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