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

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Aon Affair 

Last May Alberta Health hosted an international symposium at a hefty cost to Alberta tax payers. It’s purpose was to provide answers about how Alberta should proceed with Premier Klein’s “Third Way” initiatives. The answers provided by the symposium did not fit with the government’s view of what the answers should be. Speaker after speaker provided evidence of increased healthcare costs if further privatization schemes were implemented.

What’s a poor right wing government to do.

Well you go out and hire a consulting firm and pay them a bunch of money. In this case the consulting firm was Aon Consulting and the bunch of money was $1.5 million. You can be pretty sure that the folks at Aon know what answers the government wants and they are pleased to provide them. They didn’t become a multi-billion dollar company by being stupid. The Aon people also know that winning this contract will give them a leg up on the next phase - the implementation of a private insurance scheme for Albertans. It just so happens that Aon Consulting, the group performing the Alberta Health contract, is a small part of Aon Corporation. The big part is Aon Insurance Brokerage Services, providers of private health insurance. These are the people who will reap the real gold from Alberta's citizens.

Health Minister Iris Evans and Premier Klein have decided to support Aon Corporation and keep their contract with them despite Aon’s recent transgressions of fraud, anti-competitive behavior, and overstatement of company pension assets. Their loyalty to Aon Corporation is admirable but possibly misplaced.

Ms. Evans and Mr. Klein would do well to read this article by Paul Krugman in the New York Times. It's title is Pride, Prejudice, Insurance and here's a quote.

Why does American medicine cost so much yet achieve so little? Unlike other advanced countries, we treat access to health care as a privilege rather than a right. And this attitude turns out to be inefficient as well as cruel.

Then they need to do some serious re-thinking about The Third Way and the roll of corporations like Aon in our fair province of Alberta.

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