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Thread: PC Party delegates vote in favour of health care premiums

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    Default PC Party delegates vote in favour of health care premiums

    health care premiums maybe be back in for everyone in Alberta ??

    I'm sure there will be public protest over this one.

    Read more: http://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/alberta-h...#ixzz2lcNfVnC0
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    ^No jag, that article is a bit mis-leading. P.C. party members brought forth about 24 issues for the party to bounce around. One of them was reinstating health care premiums. They did not vote to bring premiums back in just for the idea to be put back on the table. The P.C's (Fred Horne) have said it's not that there is not enough money in the health system it's because in places it's not utilized correctly. I think if the P.C's brought premiums back in they would open a hornets nest.
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    This would be brutal, very regressive, hurts people on low incomes or low cash flow.

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    Terrible idea. If our health care system needs more funding, and that funding isn't available with our current revenues, then they should either raise income taxes or cut spending elsewhere. Calling them "health care premiums" is a sad joke, all the "premiums" are is a poorly disguised, regressive tax.

  5. #5

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    Gemini said it best - the issue is actually how the dollars are being spent, not the availability of dollars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini View Post
    The P.C's (Fred Horne) have said it's not that there is not enough money in the health system it's because in places it's not utilized correctly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    This would be brutal, very regressive, hurts people on low incomes or low cash flow.
    True, but then again, isn't this the PC way?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    Terrible idea. If our health care system needs more funding, and that funding isn't available with our current revenues, then they should either raise income taxes or cut spending elsewhere. Calling them "health care premiums" is a sad joke, all the "premiums" are is a poorly disguised, regressive tax.
    Agreed and I would add that Health Premiums are inefficient in that they incur a cost in their administration. If health care needs more money, raise it from existing taxations sources like royalties.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    This would be brutal, very regressive, hurts people on low incomes or low cash flow.
    This is a rare instance where we're on the same page, moa.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    This would be brutal, very regressive, hurts people on low incomes or low cash flow.
    No it didn't. There was allowance for low income earners and the program was part of your taxes just like gst refunds. So your statement is very much false
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    This bugs me. People have come to think of universal health care as free health care.

    It's not. We either pay through taxes, premiums or a combination. But make no mistake, we pay.

    I'm in favour of moderate premiums if only to remind us that everytime some special interest group in the medical community wants something, we'll have to pay in order to give it to them.

    And yes, there should be subsidies (as there were) for lower income Albertans.
    ... gobsmacked

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    Our province has a serious revenue problem. I'd be ok with moderate health care premium for those that could afford or a 2-3% sales tax.
    www.decl.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenSPACE View Post
    Our province has a serious revenue problem. I'd be ok with moderate health care premium for those that could afford or a 2-3% sales tax.


    This iz not the stoopidest thing Top_Dawg ever read on C2E.

    But it makes the top ten.

    There isn't a government in Canada that has a revenue problem.

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    ^We do if you continue to want health care, roads, schools, etc. It is a fallacy to believe that extensive efficiencies exist within government that can continue to be found without cuts to services.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenSPACE View Post
    ^We do if you continue to want health care, roads, schools, etc. It is a fallacy to believe that extensive efficiencies exist within government that can continue to be found without cuts to services.
    I tend to agree given the current status quo. However, change and innovation just won't come from within. It just doesn't happen in large staid organizations.

    Moreover, just look at this very issue. Of all the alternative funding mechanisms, the old premium system is being proposed. It's just a case of mindless zombies bringing long-dead processes back to life rather than innovating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    This would be brutal, very regressive, hurts people on low incomes or low cash flow.
    No it didn't. There was allowance for low income earners and the program was part of your taxes just like gst refunds. So your statement is very much false
    Its not false at all, someone earning 70k will probably pay the same premium as someone earning 300k. For someone earning 70k a few hundred dollars can be the difference between having the money to paybills or not. Health care premiums are inefficient (costly to manage), and regressive. If we don't have enough money, cut spending, or raise the taxes we already are collecting.

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    And if government raises taxes for someone earning $70k a year - that will be better (or any different) than having a premium?
    ... gobsmacked

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    This would be brutal, very regressive, hurts people on low incomes or low cash flow.
    No it didn't. There was allowance for low income earners and the program was part of your taxes just like gst refunds. So your statement is very much false
    Its not false at all, someone earning 70k will probably pay the same premium as someone earning 300k. For someone earning 70k a few hundred dollars can be the difference between having the money to paybills or not. Health care premiums are inefficient (costly to manage), and regressive. If we don't have enough money, cut spending, or raise the taxes we already are collecting.
    The allowance for low income earners was incredibly low, something like $18K per year. And the bureaucracy that was set up to collect the premiums was huge.

    Eve

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    Quote Originally Posted by McBoo View Post
    And if government raises taxes for someone earning $70k a year - that will be better (or any different) than having a premium?
    Or institute a progressive income tax system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by McBoo View Post
    And if government raises taxes for someone earning $70k a year - that will be better (or any different) than having a premium?
    Yes, because having a premium means also paying for the separate administration of the premium. Simply raising an existing tax doesn't incur any new overhead.

    And, as others have mentioned, reinstating the progressive income we had would likely cover most of the shortfalls we have right now. The Alberta flat income tax took a big chunk out of our revenues.

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    This province has one of the highest median incomes in this country, and people keep pouring in from outside the province for work. Bite the bullet and bump up the income tax already.
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    Today I learned that a person earning 70k a year is considered low income or poor, at least according to moahunter.

    (noting that a median income for a double wage earning family is around 89 k in Alberta)
    Last edited by Medwards; 25-11-2013 at 05:22 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    Today I learned that a person earning 70k a year is considered low income or poor, at least according to moahunter.

    (noting that a median income for a double wage earning family is around 89 k in Alberta)
    Nit: Actually about 98k in Alberta.

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    health care premiums sounded like health tax to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    Today I learned that a person earning 70k a year is considered low income or poor, at least according to moahunter.
    Where did I write that?

    I do think many people earning 70k are struggling though / low cash flow, if supporting payments on an average home, perhaps some kids or an ex. I don't think its fair someone earning 300 k would pay the same. Raising the tax rate by 1 percent would bring in more money, less buracracy, and more equal as higher income earners would pay more than lower.

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    The cost associated with collecting health care premiums should be reason enough not to bring them back. Plus 99% of the public would be up in arms about this. Who wants another bill at the end of the month. The provincial government collect enough in taxes (and hidden taxes) to cover health care costs without premiums being added. They have a spending problem not a revenue problem.
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    Appears to be a moot point:

    Province won’t reinstate health care premiums, Horner says

    Something from the comments on the Journal article struck as not a bad idea even though it would be and added cost: Sending out healthcare statements. I think we do overlook how much things do cost the government to run so giving people an idea of how much their use of the system might help.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

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    AHS has people in appointed positions who make more than double what the Prime Minister makes.

    That would be a good place to start looking for revenue.

  28. #28

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    The P.C. were/are running ad's saying they want full time nurses. This ad is a bit mis-leading. Their are plenty of nurses but a lot of them are not full-time. There are a fair number of nurses that only work part time. Part time is considered anything 32 hours and under. When a bulk of nurses work 32 hours and less they sometimes are asked to do overtime. The bill for overtime can be high for the A H S to cover. The province is trying to get nurses to sign contracts for a longer working week so their hours will not go into overtime.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    Appears to be a moot point:

    Province won’t reinstate health care premiums, Horner says

    Something from the comments on the Journal article struck as not a bad idea even though it would be and added cost: Sending out healthcare statements. I think we do overlook how much things do cost the government to run so giving people an idea of how much their use of the system might help.
    I doubt it. Does that help reduce costs in the US? They're painfully aware of how much their every medical procedure costs, and as far as I know the only demonstrated result of that awareness is people avoiding preventative care until they have to seek much more expensive emergency care.

    Not to mention that pricing of health care is incredibly opaque as well, so I'm not even sure how they'd manage to put a price to a lot of the services.

  30. #30

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    Sending a statement of the costs of medical procedures to people who abuse the system would be a waste of paper. Sending a statement to people using the system wisely would just be a waste of paper. Getting a statement in the mail for someone who has just passed away would be insensitive.
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    You missed the category of people who are neither intentionally abusing the system nor actively trying to use it wisely. Most people aren't trying to screw the system over but are unaware of the costs associated with it.

    You are correct that the pricing is very opaque and hard to peg down, nor would I want the situation that exists in the U.S. where nurses can spend as much time trying to document procedures as actually treating people.

    But I do think some system, and it doesn't have to mail outs, that helps people become aware of how much they use, or do not use the system, could be helpful. It could even be a comparative thing where you can see your usage vs others.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

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    I just don't see what the point of it would be. Armed with that knowledge, what effect do you think it will have on people's use of the system or how they live their lives? I really don't see any benefit that can be realized from such a system/program. It won't change people's behavior or lifestyles one iota.

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    I bet a lot of people would receive a statement after a visit then whine that they didn't get their money's worth.

  34. #34

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    The government taxes just about everything that moves or does not move. Every time we fill up at the pumps, we by food, appliances, licence plates, the list goes on and on. Maybe we should send reminders to the government on everything they tax us for. Reverse the onus on them.
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    CFRN just stated the province is now in the black. Amazing seeing as they were crying poverty a couple of months ago. No AHS premiums for us, not this time anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    I just don't see what the point of it would be. Armed with that knowledge, what effect do you think it will have on people's use of the system or how they live their lives? I really don't see any benefit that can be realized from such a system/program. It won't change people's behavior or lifestyles one iota.
    Most research into human behaviour says otherwise. How we behave is influenced by what we know so correcting perception of how much we're consuming of a resource does have an effect.

    As a quick example, when displays were placed in the lobby of an office building showing how much energy each floor was consuming overall power consumption in the building dropped. The office workers perception of how much energy they were using was very different from the actual and when that was demonstrated on daily basis they altered their behaviour.

    Currently our health care is pretty much a black box where we have little idea how much our individual treatments cost. Providing some mechanism to illuminate those costs would help people understand the system they're using could help people in using the system more appropriately. There are a lot of ways that could be done but it could be as simple as making usage statistics available online as an open data project. That at least would make it easier for people like us to have sensible debates on how much is being spent on what.

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    Switching lights on and off is entirely different from making significant changes in people's lifestyles. I'd be curious if there's any actual studies that show that people being made aware of their health care costs alter their behaviors enough to reduce their use of it.

  38. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    This would be brutal, very regressive, hurts people on low incomes or low cash flow.
    No it didn't. There was allowance for low income earners and the program was part of your taxes just like gst refunds. So your statement is very much false
    Its not false at all, someone earning 70k will probably pay the same premium as someone earning 300k. For someone earning 70k a few hundred dollars can be the difference between having the money to paybills or not. Health care premiums are inefficient (costly to manage), and regressive. If we don't have enough money, cut spending, or raise the taxes we already are collecting.
    What.. cough cough... trouble paying bills at 70K I am sorry that is simple money mismanagement.... not poverty.
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    ^
    The payments on the new truck, new 90 inch TV, new set of atv's and snowmobiles plus the mortgage on the largest house you can barely afford and all the junk you need to fill that house with all add up man.

    times are tough for everyone man...
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    That's why I advocate an income tax increase instead of health care premiums.

    If Joe Trucknuts can afford a 90" TV and a garage full of quads then he can afford, say, a 5% increase in income tax. Those of us financially savvy enough can always get an income tax refund, whereas with premiums, once it's gone it's gone. Also, those in lower income brackets are exempt from income taxes.

    But Reddy won't do it, it will be political suicide for her.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrOilers View Post
    I bet a lot of people would receive a statement after a visit then whine that they didn't get their money's worth.
    If that person missed 4-5 hours of work losing pay sitting in a Medi-Centre the statement would rub salt in the wounds. I don't think anyone would appreciate a statement reminding them they just spent 10 months in the Glenrose being rehabilitated after an industrial accident or a mother getting a statement on her child's time in the Stollery. The majority of people don't abuse the system. The ones that do abuse the system would more than likely just trash the statement anyway, without even opening it.
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    I hear oil prices will drop next year could spell trouble for Alberta's finances that will throw back in red again but wait and see in months ahead from now.
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    I wonder if sending statements to con's would save money. I'm sure many con's who saw a statement of how much it cost to keep them in jail would change their life style. Worth a try.Raising tax, health care premiums no how about cutting at the top to save some money. Nurses who work part time are not the problem they only get over time if they are ask to work on their slash days. most units at the University Hospital have three managers trying to squeeze into the same office and attending the same waste of time meetings trying to figure out how they can save health care dollars. The Solicitor General and Justice are the same managers managing managers.

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    this would likely enhance bragging rights
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    Quote Originally Posted by peeved View Post
    I wonder if sending statements to con's would save money. I'm sure many con's who saw a statement of how much it cost to keep them in jail would change their life style. Worth a try.Raising tax, health care premiums no how about cutting at the top to save some money. Nurses who work part time are not the problem they only get over time if they are ask to work on their slash days. most units at the University Hospital have three managers trying to squeeze into the same office and attending the same waste of time meetings trying to figure out how they can save health care dollars. The Solicitor General and Justice are the same managers managing managers.
    To many part time nurses do affect the bottom line of AHS system.

    http://globalnews.ca/news/464917/nur...ime-positions/

    They cost more in pay and training costs.
    I also agree, to many pen pushers at the top levels.
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