Health care policy and delivery cost Alberta taxpayers about $20 billion per year or roughly 40 per cent of the province’s operating budget. The NDP government has maintained funding in the system but now efforts are underway to identify ways of streamlining the system.
A Primary Care Network Review by Alberta Health identified a number of troubles, some of which the Auditor General had noted in earlier reports. Of concern is the high ratio of physicians to health staff that weakens the rationale for multi-member teams.
Recent issues surfacing are the high costs of dental care in Alberta compared with neighbouring provinces. Oral hygiene is particularly important for children but general oral hygiene is a challenge for the working poor and marginalized groups. The Alberta Dental Association does not publish a fee schedule. Look for this issue to become more politicized. Another issue to be dealt with by the government will be doctor’s salaries, especially those of specialists.