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Evans acknowledged that doctors will be drawn out of the public system to the private system where they can make more money. That's why they'll be required to file a business plan addressing how they will contribute to the public system. But there's no detail on what constitutes "contribution." Klein is right to worry about the sustainability of the health−care system. All provinces are watching health costs eating up more of their budgets. Klein's goal −− to limit the increase in health budgets to the rate of inflation −− is laudable. So why can't we have some straight talk from this government? If the issue is that Albertans have to pay more for health care, let's talk about that and how we might do it: through higher taxes, de−listing, private insurance or increased medicare premiums. Evans threw out a surprising figure: she says 30 per cent of what Alberta covers under health insurance is not required under the Canada Health Act. Does this mean de−listing is on the table? Klein says he doesn't want a battle with Ottawa over health reform. But this clearly raises a red flag for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who spent the winter election campaign saying he's committed to the Canada Health Act. Harper's reaction so far is cautious. These are "working proposals" and not the final document, he noted. That's more of a problem than Harper realizes. Klein appears ready to pass vague "enabling legislation" in the legislature this spring to change Alberta laws that prevent doctors working in both systems. That means many critical details will be worked out in the secrecy of cabinet meetings and never debated by the public. How wrong that would be. These reforms are potentially the biggest change to medicare the country has seen. They need a full and thorough airing. What a travesty of democratic process it would be if Klein settles for a token one−month debate on these vague and ill−defined proposals.



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