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The government's white paper, which would allow patients to pay for non−emergency procedures such as hip and knee replacements, to get faster care and let doctors practise in both the private and private health−care system, has been in the works since last year. Mr. Klein wanted to start rolling it out last fall, but decided to delay. He explained that the document needed more work and he didn't want the federal Liberals to use it as political ammunition during the election campaign. The Premier was still smarting over complaints that he "single−handedly" cost the federal Conservatives the 2004 federal election when he mused that he was preparing to release health−care reforms that could violate federal laws. However, since the Jan. 23 election, many details of the health−care plan have been leaked to the media in Alberta. Steve Patten, a political scientist at the University of Alberta, said Mr. Klein has been talking about transforming health−care delivery for so long that it's not surprising as his political career winds down that he finally acted. "If this seems rushed in any way, it's because this is important to Ralph Klein and he is leaving some time in the next couple of years and still needs to take action on this," he said. What has stumped Mr. Patten and many others in Alberta, including the three opposition parties, is the lack of details attached to the white paper. "It's still at a high level of abstraction," Mr. Patten noted. "I was expecting a lot more." ADDED SEARCH TERMS: GEOGRAPHIC NAME: Alberta SUBJECT TERM:health care; reform; privatization PERSONAL NAME: Ralph Klein



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