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A new study shows privatization and decentralization of seniors’ care in Alberta has led to higher costs and less access to care.

The Consumers’ Association of Canada says Alberta’s seniors, their families and taxpayers are bearing increased costs as a result of the introduction of a US model of care that has fragmented services, expanded the role of private insurers and increased administrative costs.

“Alberta families are increasingly trapped in a high-priced long-term care market with few real choices,” says the report’s author Wendy Armstrong. “Worse still, the battered public sector has adopted many of the expensive habits of private insurers, driving up the costs of administration and leaving less money for care.”

Armstrong is currently on a speaking tour of British Columbia where the report has attracted attention.

“This new study should give BC politicians – who propose to take seniors and their families down this same road – reason to pause and take a sober second look at their plans,” says Terrie Hendrickson, coordinator of the BC Health Coalition.

“Alberta has failed to provide cost-effective, accessible care for seniors and there’s absolutely no reason why we should repeat those mistakes in BC.”