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Edmonton - In the fall, the Premier encouraged university researchers to be involved in the debate on the provinces controversial for-profit health care legislation. CUPE has taken up this challenge by ensuring Professor Richard Plain’s study would be published in time for this debate.

“Plain makes a convincing case for not proceeding further with private hospitals and contracting out health services”, said Terry Mutton, President of CUPE Alberta. “Most Albertans are going to be surprised to find out the very important but little known steps that the Klein government has already taken to facilitate the commercialization of the health care in this province.”

Plain’s study traces out the path the Alberta government has followed in its efforts to change the role played by for-profit private clinics and investor owned corporations in the delivery of surgical, diagnostic and laboratory services within the province. Plain shows that once the federal government signed off on Principle 11, the physician, the trusted advisor, is entitled to recommend and profit from the sale of services which are not medically necessary or required to improve the patient’s health status.

In a patient’s mind, however, everything doctors recommend is considered to be medically necessary. Otherwise why would they recommend it? The idea that a doctor would act as a medical salesman rather than as a medical professional and advise patients to purchase prostheses and services that are not medically required is totally beyond belief. Viewing their doctor as an entrepreneur and health care as a commodity is an American invention that few Canadians are willing to support.

“Plain’s study requires careful consideration and debate”, said Mutton. “In the current heated atmosphere, charged by government appointed Truth Squads, such a debate is crucial before we go any further down the road towards a for-profit health care system. We must understand that this will be a one way trip. NAFTA and WTO rules will see that we never return to a universal, comprehensive public health care system.”

For more information please call,
Terry Mutton at (403)269-1160 or (403)660-7517

Ron Lv0065sque
(780) 436-7531 or (780) 914-3317.

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