There are a lot of questions in the air as the province appears to be moving toward privatizing a benefits program for people with chronic health problems.
630 CHED has learned that workers with Alberta Aids to Daily Living, which provides funds for health equipment like wheelchairs and back braces, have been informed that the program is going to be taken over by Alberta Blue Cross soon.
Karen Weiers, vice president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, has heard the move will likely happen. She said there are a lot of questions that still need to be answered.
“We have not seen any cost analysis that would deem this beneficial. We have not seen a request for proposals sent out to ensure that, if they are moving this way, that Alberta Blue Cross is the best option,” said Weiers. “The implication for taxpayers, what will that be? How will this affect the needs of the Albertans requiring this service, and will this, in fact, result in less services being provided to Albertans?
Weiers is also worried that the province will get in the habit of turning things over to the private sector.
“This was an initiative by the previous government, so this government seems to be following suit in outsourcing public services, when they actually ran on a platform to protect public services. That’s a concern for us.”
The Health Minister’s office says it is a proposal that is being considered, but no decision has been reached yet.