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

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Freddie's Diary - Article 15 - Part I 

Jan. 2000, Edmonton, EJ

An aging population is one reason the province is exploring new ways to deliver health care, such as the proposed private health plan, says Children's Services Minister Iris Evans. Evans said, with the population "aging more rapidly,"and it has "really put pressure on the health system." "So you look at our health system and the average cost of people that are elderly being much more than our children are. Yeah, I think there's going to be a huge impact. We will find ourselves pressed to look at other ways of making it (health) affordable," said Evans. Evans recently warned the Leduc riding Conservative association that seniors and others are "spilling over the mountains" from B.C. and Saskatchewan into Alberta, placing pressure on the health system. She said in an interview that seniors are being drawn to Alberta by lower taxes and housing costs.

Last year, Evans, Municipal Affairs Minister, responsible for housing, said government figures showed 1 600 people on average moved into the province each month. "But 40% are seniors, so we're getting a rapid in growth of seniors. She cited forecasts that the health budget--which now consumes just over 30% of government spending -- will make up 46% of the total budget by the year 2005. How much of that can actually be attributed to senior's health costs is uncertain, but Evans said the public should be concerned as the population ages and people live longer due to new technology.

Premier Ralph Klein has repeatedly cited an aging population as a key factor driving the province to push ahead with its controversial legislation to expand the role of private surgery facilities.

Vegerville senior Mary Lukenchuk, thinks the government is unduly blaming seniors for rising health costs in order to justify the legislation, which opponents say will erode the public heath system. Lukenchuk and 33 other senior members of the Friends of Medicare lobby group traveled by bus to Edmonton Thursday to demonstrate against the public health plan.

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