The campaign to stop Alberta’s Bill 37 picked up steam Monday with the release of a CUPE poll that clearly demonstrates public opposition to private hospitals. Bill 37 would give the Alberta Minister of Health the power to approve for-profit hospitals in the province. It is expected that the bill will be introduced into the legislature later this month.
“The public is wise to this government on health care,” said Terry Mutton, president of CUPE Alberta. “They don’t buy the alibi that private hospitals will help solve its deliberate under-funding of health care.”
Two-thirds of those polled said that for-profit hospitals would signal the beginning of the end of universal, public health care. The polls found that most Albertans reject the notion that private hospitals are more efficient, innovative or cost effective. In fact, most Albertans believe that public hospitals are better because they’re not driven by profit and don’t need huge bureaucracies to track down payments from patients and insurance companies.
CUPE’s campaign is building pressure on the government through a petition and postcard campaign and meetings with MLAs. As well, billboards, and print and radio ads are encouraging Albertans to communicate their opposition directly to the government.