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Health Care Protection Act

In March 2000, Premier Ralph Klein’s government introduced the Health Care Protection Act (Bill 11) to define provincial criteria for private facilities providing surgical services, which Klein claimed would lessen wait times for suffering Albertans in need of hip and knee replacement, cataract removal, and other procedures. Mass public protests led by the Alberta Friends of Medicare, with back-up from national and provincial medical and nursing associations, were supported in the legislature by Liberal and NDP members, who charged that Klein’s bill would open up Alberta’s health care system to American corporations and draw health care professionals away from the public system. Klein’s supporters argued that Bill 11 “would give health officials greater flexibility in their war on surgical waiting lists” (Brian Bergman, “Klein’s Controversial Health-Care Reform,” Maclean’s Magazine [April 3, 2000]). Ironically, in May 1999, the Alberta chapter of the Consumers’ Association of Canada had published a study demonstrating that wait times were longer for private eye clinic surgery in Calgary than in the publicly serviced clinics in Edmonton and Lethbridge. And the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta opposed overnight care for complex operations such as hip replacement. In spite of these concerns, the legislation passed and Alberta has subsequently accredited 53 non-hospital surgical facilities. (Source: Health Canada, Canada Health Act Annual Report, 2003-2004 [Ottawa: Health Canada Publications Centre, 2005], 156)

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    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010