NDP MPs in Edmonton want Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to intervene and prevent Alberta Premier Danielle Smith from pursuing her plans to reform the Alberta Health Services.
Blake Desjarlais and Trisha Estabrooks have publicly called for federal intervention to prevent what they falsely claim as a move towards privatizing healthcare in Alberta. These criticisms focus on restructuring Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the impact on public healthcare access.
The NDP’s concerns centre around protecting Canada Health Transfer funds and ensuring they support public healthcare.
Desjarlais and Estabrooks have pointed to instances in other provinces where public funds were used for private care, urging the federal government to step in and safeguard Alberta’s healthcare system.
The two MPs are following their leaders’ sentiment, who voiced her concerns against the UCP’s healthcare reform after receiving leaked documents a day prior to the official announcement.
“This is clearly a scheme to sell off and privatize public health care piece by piece,” claimed Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley.
On top of this, the Alberta NDP held a press conference denouncing the UCP’s new health care plan.
During the official announcement, Alberta’s Minister of Health, Adriana Lagrange, refuted their claims.
“There is no privatization of healthcare. It is publicly funded public healthcare we’re talking about,” she said.
Estabrooks highlighted issues such as the 6.5-hour wait time at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and the potential for these reforms to exacerbate wait times and medical professional burnout. She emphasized the fear among Edmontonians about the healthcare system’s capacity to meet their needs, especially in times of sickness.
Senior press secretary to the Minister of Health, Charlotte Taillon, made similar assurances.
“The premier made a public health care guarantee to Albertans. That means no one will ever have to pay out of pocket for a visit to a doctor or for hospital services, and that is not changing,” she said.
Taillon stated that the Alberta government’s reforms are aligned with maintaining a strong public healthcare system. Additionally, she highlighted the government’s efforts to continue growing the healthcare workforce to meet the province’s needs.
Amidst these assurances, Desjarlais remains skeptical, pointing to the rising privatization of healthcare and the burden on Albertans who pay thousands for necessary surgeries. He called on the federal government to intervene.
True North reached out to Minister Lagrange for comment on the NDP’s denouncement of the health care systematic reform but received no response by the time this article was published.