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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

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Ralphamatics 

For those that doubt that Premier Klein could be that confused about health care costs, here is the interchange from Hansard between Mr. Klein, Premier of Alberta, Mr. Mason, Leader of the NDP, and Ms. Blakeman, Liberal Health Critic. Comments in red are mine.

ALBERTA LEGISLATURE SESSION
Thursday February 23/06, 1:30 pm

Question Period:-
Mr. Mason: Why is this Premier keeping the government’s plans for private two-tier healthcare secret until after the upcoming vote on his leadership?

Mr. Klein: “. . . I’ll tell you what the problem is. Here’s the original ask: Chinook health region 19.8 percent , that’s 10.9 billion: Pallister 18.6 percent, that’s 1.8 billion. . . . Without going through the whole list the total is $100.6 billion - 100.6 billion this year alone - and they have no solution other than spend, spend, and spend more.”

Mr., Mason: “If the third ways is so controversial . . . what do you think normal Albertans will think about it?

Mr. Klein: “I’ll tell you what normal Albertans will think about it. Normal Albertans will think that $100. 6 billion is . . . (interjections) Well they don’t think it's much - $100.6 billion - and the NDs don’t think it’s much. Well their sense of money is a lot different than mine, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Mason: “ . . . why doesn’t he (the Premier) do the right thing and back away from this plans for private, two-tier medicine in this province until he gets a mandate from the people?

Mr. Klein: “I would challenge the media to ask the Official Opposition if they have any solutions or if the opposition thinks that $100.6 billion is acceptable annually.

Ms. Blakeman: “. . . was it the health ministers meeting with your federal cousins that halted the Premier’s reforms?

Mr. Klein : “Well at least we have some federal cousins that are at least honest. Remember Adscam . . . (goes on to put all Liberals down etc.) . . . I apologize, the figure is only $10 billion, not a hundred billion. Only $10 billion. But they still don’t have any solutions. (note it is actually more like $1.6 billion)

Ms. Blakeman: “. . . the Premier already has the Liberal document called Toward a Healthy Future, so he can look there for suggestions. . .

Mr. Klein: “. . I’d like to see that. I don’t recall ever receiving a copy. Maybe I have a copy. I want to see some specific solutions that are going to achieve two things: one, increase access, and number two, bring costs in line with the rate of inflation.

$100.6 billion ===> $10.6 billion ===> $1.6 billion in an afternoon.
See Pesky Decimal Points for further details.

Friday, February 24, 2006

SENSIBLE HEALTHCARE #3 

QUEBEC’S SENSIBLE BEATS
KLEIN’S IRRATIONAL “THIRD WAY”

Comment # 3
If I understand Senators Michael Kirby and Wilbert Keon, writing in the Globe and Mail (2/18/06), they are solidly in support of having all medical services financed by the state from public revenues. Quebec, they say, is in no way following Ralph Klein’s insane (see previous posting) attempt to throw the public system open to an imagined flood of private money that would come from citizens buying private insurance to, supposedly, cover surgical procedures for hips, knees, eyes and other as-yet-unspecified organs.

They see Quebec's response to the Chaouilli decision (June 9/05) as highly consistent with their own Senate committee report in 2002 proposing a care guarantee based on clinical assessment rather than on the patient’s ability to pay.

However, for that guarantee to become a reality a far more serious problem must be made the central issue. The most serious source of failure to meet patient needs can’t be solved simply by adding more opportunities to use private resources. It is the same glaring shortfall identified by Dr. Colleen Flood, holder of the University of Toronto Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy when she reported on the Supreme Court’s Chaouilli decision at the UofA in November 05.

Three highly qualified students of health care in Canada point to the severe shortage of human and physical resources as the real cause of failure to meet the country’s medical needs. The fact is that the pubic system in Alberta has been starved for over a decade of the resources necessary for the task at hand. Nowhere in Canada can that be seen more clearly than In Alberta where the Klein government has withheld not only massive amounts of money, but, more damagingly, has forced cutbacks on the schools and programs that train healthcare personnel. So the Klein government has, first, handicapped the effectiveness of the public system and now, second, proposes a costly, non-sensible solution.

In the next comment; what the senators suggest must be done.

Blair McPherson

Pesky Decimal Points 

Premier Klein is shown here explaining to a group of journalists how a simple misplaced decimal point along with a misunderstanding about how zeros work caused him to think that healthcare spending was out of control.

The following quote from a story in today's Edmonton Journal explains the problem.

"During Thursday's question period, Klein made gaffes while trying to defend his plans for health care. In an effort to justify the need for shaking up the system, Klein insisted at least six times that requests from health authorities totalled $100.6 billion for the coming year.
He then downgraded that figure
to $10.6 billion, only to later revise it to $1.6 billion. "I was wrong in my math, it was actually $1.6 billion," he said
."

"As Shirley (Finance Minister Shirley McClellan) pointed out to me, those decimal points and zeros really make a difference" he explained.

"So I'm pleased to announce that we don't need any more of that "Third Way" stuff because it turns out I've got $99 billion a year more than I thought. We'll put $9 billion a year into healthcare and we'll still have $90 billion a year to spread amoung the folk which works out to $30,000/year/Albertan.

Have I got those decimal points right Shirl?"

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

SENSIBLE HEALTHCARE #2 

SENSIBLE BEATS “THIRD WAY”
(Interpreting the Chaouilli ruling)
Comment # 2 - (click here for Comment #1)

Michael Kirby and Wilbert Keon, two Senators who have forgotten more about Canadian Healthcare than Ralph Klein will ever know, state in the Globe and Mail (2/18/06) “Governments must either live up to their end of the medicare bargain and deliver timely access to care, or they must allow individual Canadians to purchase medically necessary care they need for themselves.”

The two senators go on to say that a care guarantee prevents two undesirable outcomes besides ensuring that people receive the care they need within evidence-based clinically determined wait times. They give credit to Alberta for recognizing the need to shorten waiting lists. But they do not endorse Klein’s third way move to delist services, on the one hand, while, on the other hand, pressuring the vulnerable public into thinking that by buying private insurance they will have better access to medical services than the rest of us.

“On the one hand,” the senators state, “it (the guarantee) prevents the Charter of rights of Canadians from being infringed; on the other hand, it prevents the emergence of a parallel privately funded system. IT DOES THIS BY GUARANTEEING THAT CANADIANS RECEIVE THE CARE THEY NEED, WHEN THE NEED IT, WITHIN THE PUBLICLY FUNDED SYSTEM.” (capitals mine)

The way these two highly qualified citizens are interpreting the Supreme Court’s Chaouilli decision is a far cry from Ralph Klein’s constant propaganda to the effect that Canadians can’t sustain their health care system and must, therefore, sell large pieces of it out to private insurance corporations and medical entrepreneurs.

Blair McPherson

Kevin Trudeau Appointed Alberta Minister of Health 


Responding to criticism that last night's infomercial on the future of Alberta in the 21st century was fluff-filled, an animated Alberta Premier Ralph Klein today announced the first substantive step of his highly-publicized "Third Way" health care initiative – the replacement of beleaguered Health Minister Iris Evans with health guru Kevin Trudeau.

The Premier elaborated.

"Colleen gave me this book at Christmas called Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want you to Know About. It’s by this guy Kevin Trudeau and get this - it’s 571 pages long and it’s got a cure for just about everything in it, including cancer. Anyway, it got me thinking that if everyone in the Province read this book and followed Kevin’s tips we would pretty much cure everyone that was sick and prevent everyone else from getting sick. Hey, we could pretty well eliminate our health care budget.

So I got Kevin on the horn and stuck a deal with him. He’s going to provide every Albertan one of his books for the low low price of only $18.95 US (shipping and handling extra) and in exchange for the cheap price I’m going to make him Health Minister. That what you call a “win-win”, “thinking-outside-the-box”, “Made in Alberta” solution.” "

The initiative will cost Albertans taxpayers $65.5 CDN million (shipping and handling extra).

See related story here.





Premier Klein addresses Albertans through the magic of infomercial.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

SENSIBLE HEALTH CARE #1 

SENSIBLE BEATS “THIRD WAY”
First comment:-

According to Senators Michael Kirby and Wilbert Keon (Globe and Mail Feb. 18/06) Quebec has used the Supreme Court verdict (Chaouilli case) in a very sensible and responsible way. The focus of the case was not on the phony issue of who delivers the services but, rather, on the very real one of whether Canadians have the right to timely access to the care they need, regardless of the provider.

Quebec’s insistence that the care must continue to be funded by the public system leads to this sensible application:- that there is no need for private, for-profit, providers if the pubic system were adequately funded and efficiently run. This sensible conclusion contrasts dramatically with Ralph Klein's third way which has come into the proposal stage only after a decade of severely handicapping the public system by the closure of facilities, laying off and overloading of medical personnel and farming out services.

The media’s constant complaint that the Klein government has no plan is both misleading and harmful. As Gillian Steward Demonstrates in “The Return of the Trojan Horse” there have been “many carefully planned privatization threads “ for the whole Klein era.

More to come: Blair McPherson

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cleaning Up Our Communities 


Ralph's World relies on an extensive network of correspondents throughout the province to bring forth timely, tasteful, and most importantly, relevant news to our readership. This just in.

“We are going to clean up our communities and keep them that way,” said a spokesperson from Alberta’s Department of Protected Environments.

The Premier’s Taskforce on Waste Elimination will deliver 400 free PoopSacks to every dog-owning family in the province. “We will ensure Albertans enjoy the cleanest roads, sidewalks, and lawns in the country.”

This new and innovative program, known as ‘The Turd Way’, proves once again that our beloved Premier is a visionary leader.

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