Vive Le Canada

Alberta moves ahead on private health care bill
Date: Friday, January 27 2006

Alberta moves ahead on private health care bill

Updated Fri. Jan. 27 2006 8:26 AM ET

Canadian Press

EDMONTON The Alberta government is moving ahead with its long-stated intention to allow more private-health care, saying it will most likely bring in legislation as early as this spring.

Premier Ralph Klein said his Tory caucus agreed unanimously on Thursday to move ahead with revised laws that would, among other things, allow people to buy private insurance for some procedures. Another of his government's so-called "third way" reforms would allow doctors to practise in both the public and private-health systems.

Critics have long warned that such policies will create a parallel, private health system in Canada.

The provincial government has seven other, unspecified changes it plans to make. Klein admitted that some might violate the Canada Health Act.

Such talk from Alberta often drew strong warnings from the federal Liberal governments of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin.

The province's decision to finally adopt the controversial proposals comes just as a Conservative prime minister from Alberta, Stephen Harper, is about to take power, albeit with a minority government after Monday's federal election.

Klein said it's good to have a government from the West at such a time, but he stressed the timing of Alberta moving on the issue is coincidental.

The health reforms have been in the works for a long time and Alberta would be proceeding regardless of who came into power in Ottawa, he said.

The premier said he spoke to Harper about the province's decision, and would only say the two leaders agreed to "keep the lines of communication open."

[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on January 27, 2006]

This article comes from Vive Le Canada

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