Ralph Klein has gone and it is time to retire Ralph's World. Thanks to all of you who have supported this venture by contributing material and through your comments. It has been fun.

Should we get another blog underway? Let me know your thoughts by e-mailing me at johnnyslow@gmail.com.

John Slow
January 1, 2007

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Insurance Pitch Will Follow Health User Fees 

As Susan Ruttan reports in her Edmonton Journal article of April 4, Alberta Health Minister Gary Mar has cited Sweden as a model country that has done a good job in controlling health-care costs.

We need to be very suspicious when the free-market Alberta Tories say they are looking to a country that places a high priority on their citizen's welfare (i.e. a social democracy) to provide guidance in the area of health care. In particular, watch out for cherry picking the parts of the Swedish solution they like while ignoring the parts that don't fit with their right-wing philosophy.

My guess is that Minister Mar will love the user fee part but won't like the $160 a year cap that the Swedes have on user fees. The reality is that Sweden pays for most of its health care through revenues collected by their progressive income tax system. Alberta substantially reduced the revenues available through income tax when it introduced the flat tax in 2001. The government won't raise income taxes anyway because Premier Klein said they wouldn't and it would greatly offend those Tory supporters who benefit hugely from the flat tax scheme.

So folks, look for user fees in our future followed by private insurance companies willing to insure us against the risk of having to pay excessive user fees. Just like auto insurance. This will cost us all more in total but those that pay the most will be the middle class; the severely normal Albertan.

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