My work here is almost done. Pretty well everything has been deregulated and/or privatized. Prices for electricity, gas, car insurance have risen beautifully providing fantastic levels of profits for the companies involved. Citizens of Alberta - I thank you.

As my final act, I will bring the same free market blessings to Healthcare using my patented "Third Way".

Thank you in advance for your support.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Private Hospitals - Bad Idea 

Albertans have just had two conferences on the future of healthcare in this province;

Weighing the Evidence, sponsored by the Friends of Medicare
Unleashing Innovation in Health Systems sponsored by the Alberta Government - Health and Wellness.

Both conferences provided excellent speakers from Europe, New Zealand, Australia and the United States in addition to a number of Canadian speakers. The Friends of Medicare Conference was open to anyone who wanted to attend while the government conference was by invitation only. But in all fairness to the government, they did provide full coverage of their conference over the internet. In addition, they invited many Albertans who oppose "The Third Way" to their closed event.

The government chose not to have any Tory MLAs attended the Friends of Medicare conference nor did anyone from Alberta Health and Wellness appear to be there. Too bad. We would have more confidence in our decision makers if we thought they could expose themselves to opposing point-of-view before making their decisions. Another disappointment was the fact that only one speaker was asked to present at both conferences, a measure perhaps of how far apart the two sides are.

That one speaker was Dr. Alan Maynard, Professor, Department of Health Sciences, University of York (UK). He was very blunt in his assessment of the effectiveness of Private-for-Profit hospitals. He said that all the studies have shown that Private-for-Profit hospitals cost the health system more and kill more patients than publicly funded hospitals . That, he said should clearly end the debate on that aspect of health care delivery. But he issued this warning from his experience in the UK.

"It’s the evidence, stupid. We know what things work. But for a lot of other things, we don’t know the efficacy. In terms of private hospitals, investor owned hospitals are more expensive and less safe. In spite of that evidence, in the UK they are moving to privatize more hospitals. Use the evidence. Make the right decisions."

Private hospitals are a bad idea. Will the Klein government heed the advice of the medical experts they hired to advise them? Will they use the evidence? Or will they follow their right-wing "private is always better" instincts?

We'll have to wait and see.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

ASC Sex Dolls Now Fully Clothed 

Warning: - Read this entire article and think carefully before choosing to click on the highlighted "BEFORE" link below. Clicking on the "BEFORE" link should only be attempted by Albertans over the age of 25 AND accompanied by a parent or a member of the Alberta Public Affairs Bureau who can properly interpret the anatomical features found at that link. The staff at Ralph's World take no responsibility for any damage inflicted upon the gentle psyche of those Albertans who chose to click.

BEFORE - As dolls arrive at the ASC offices from the Partybox Company.

AFTER - After being suitably clothed by Alberta Public Affairs personnel.

Edmonton - May 8, 2005 - RW Newswire: Alberta’s Finance Minister Shirley McClellan, responding to harsh criticism from the socially conservative faction in the PC party, has ordered the immediate clothing of the inflatable sex dolls at the Alberta Security Commission offices.

“It’s a matter of priorities” the Minister said. “The most important thing is to get these dolls dressed and I mean right now. I can fully understand how working in the ASC offices could be difficult for the staff when naked inflatable dolls are occupying the cubicle next to you. By putting some proper clothing on the dolls, the temptation to peek over the top of the cubicles will be considerably reduced. This will allow staff to get on with their important work.”

The Alberta Securities commission has been embroiled in controversy for several weeks. Further details can be found here, here and here.

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