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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

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

HEALTHCARE ON THE BASIS OF NEED NOT GREED 

DOUGLAS AND KLEIN
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THESE PICTURES?

PICTURE # 1
Place:- Saskatchewan 1944. Times:- Province just emerging from deep recession; World War 2 still on. Tommy Douglas proclaims intention to develop a full healthcare system. Principles:- 1. Healthcare available to all citizens on the basis of need. 2. No family to be financially ruined by medical costs.
By the end of 1944, cancer victims, the mentally ill, and those suffering from venereal disease were already receiving both medical care and hospitalization at state expense. In 1945, the same benefits were extended to old age pensioners, blind pensioners,mothers allowance recipients and wards of the province.
PICTURE # 2
Place: Alberta 1993. Times: - Province rich with natural resources, running yearly surpluses despite self-created debt. Already has full healthcare system. Ralph Klein running around the province proclaiming “Healthcare costs out of control,” “Health expenses going through the roof.” Quick everybody, take on a depression mentality. Start thinking and acting like Alberta is deep in depression and, like a giant corporation facing bankruptcy, we’ve got to lay off workers, slash expenses no matter what gets destroyed and who gets hurt.

By the 1995-96 budget, Klein’s government had taken $53 million out of the health department (from $4.3 billion in 1992-93 to $3.77 billion 1995-96). Hospital beds cut, operating rooms closed, one hospital blown up and others mothballed, professional staffs manipulated; morale devastated.

PICTURE # 3
Place:- Saskatchewan 1957: Time:- Saskatchewan still a have-not province, yet Tommy Douglas leads the passing of “The Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act” which covered all citizens of province. Laid the foundation for universal Public Healthcare:-
Principles
- Medicare to be prepaid by state; Patients will not be billed.
- Everyone covered regardless of age, income, or physical disability
- Medicare not financed by syphoning funds from other areas of health
- Operates under government control, not private insurance companies
- Legislation acceptable to both the public and the medical profession before implementation
Ten years later Federal government acts on Saskatchewan's principles but adds that benefits must be transferrable and that federal government will contribute to costs of any provincial program that satisfied those principles.
PICTURE # 4
Place:- Alberta 2004-2005: Times:- Klein Government amassing huge surpluses and bragging “we’re debt Free.” Ralph Klein still running about the nation preaching to elite audiences that healthcare costs are “unsustainable.” Dishonestly, keeps comparing present health costs with those at the point ten years ago when he had slashed Alberta’s healthcare budget. Lacks the integrity to admit that it is because of his own underfunding, closing of hospitals, and depletion of human resources that he can claim costs are rising “unsustainably.”
Klein government, pushing changes that mean medical services will no longer be available to all on the basis of need but will rather become more readily available to those few whose income goes far beyond meeting basic needs.

PICTURE # 5
Place:- Saskatchewan 1961 Times: Doctor’s on strike until Urologist, Dr. Esfstafios Barootes, leader of Doctor strike against Medicare, changes mind, becomes staunch supporter. “For the first time, illness or accident would not be the inevitable precursor of ruin for the average Canadian.” Emmett Hall report soon after recommends that the federal government “should make the fruits of health sciences available to all our residents without hindrance of any kind.”
1967, Federal government legislates healthcare into being based on Saskatchewan’s principles plus rule that benefits must be transferrable between jurisdictions. By the end of 1970 every province, including Alberta, had joined.
PICTURE # 6
Place:- Alberta 2004-2005 Times:- Ralph Klein refuses to reveal plans for “privatizing” Healthcare before 2004 election. After election drops hints of challenging principles of Canada Health Act. Talks of delisting services and introducing user fees, Sets up so called “private” operations and guarantees profits to corporate investors. Then preaches to elite audiences about a mysterious “third way.” Won’t accept that Canada already has the most affordable healthcare system in the world. Organizes symposium to gather support from “other sources” for his, hidden-from-the-public solutions to healthcare's’ so called “unsustainability.”

Is it any wonder that Canadians selected Tommy Douglas as the most important Canadian of the century while Ralph Klein wasn’t even in the running?
Tommy Douglas, was the builder of healthcare in Canada. Ralph Klein is the dismanteler of healthcare in Alberta and threatener of healthcare in all of Canada.

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