Friday, August 19, 2011

Alison Redford's Geek Manifesto: Part three

When we last left our heroine, she was slogging through the epic "Healthcare" section of the evil political policy. We join her now facing down the undefeatable Family Care Clinic clinic, which were elaborating on the fine details of Ms. Redford's healthcare plan.

Family care Clinics
As is 'in vogue' right now she advocates a team atmosphere, emphasizing coordination between nurses, practitioners, doctors, etc. which, as a policy, can't go wrong. Even if we had doctors out the whazoo (Most promptly diagnosed problem ever.) it would be beneficial to merge in the differing talents of the other sectors to create a harmonious health machine. I disagree with her when she suggests this will result in a more diverse AND higher quality healthcare system: the initial focus must produce one OR the other, but it is incredible unlikely to produce both.

Continuing Care for Seniors
She talks about the struggle to provide continuing care systems for seniors, but only about half of her plans seem destined for success. Obviously encouraging/enhancing home care is preferable, but this will necessarily come at the cost of quality, since no matter how clean the house is, it is no substitute for a hospital (No tasteless joke about antibacterial-resistant meningoccocal please). The other half of her plan, however, involves expanding the range of services available at each facility, to accomadate all circumstances, and forcing healthcare students to take senior care courses. Expanding the services offered is going to make it more difficult and expensive to open more facilities, the opposite of what she is trying to achieve, and forcing tudents to study another aspect of medical care is going to put more strain on students that already have too much on their plates. Her intentions are good, but, as they say, are paving a road to a warm place.

Expanded Home Care
Let me summarize for you: "You can stay at home! Aren't we good to you?"  

Local Participation
This section seems awful confused, since she outlines how central planning is better for almost everything, but then plans to 'devlve' decision making power and take consultations from the public by improving the advisory boards. I'm not sure if she's toying with us, or wishywashy about relinquishing power.

Measuring and Evaluating
For better or for worse, she plans to release reports every quarter detailing emergency room wait times, surgery wait times, and hospital aquired infection rates. I suspect this practice will stop once she realizes the only people that read them are the ones that are angry and want to prove the situation is dismal, and that she will be held accountable for all times that the public, who may not have the best view on these matters, feel are too long.

Family First
Families First
I could feel my wallet screaming as I read through this section, which included subsidized child care for families that bring home less than $50,000, a $15,000 recreation tax credit, tax-exemption for day-care owners, and full-day kindergarten within a year of her taking office (something I suspect kindergarten teachers are not prepared for). I am not sure she can deliver on these, and I am not sure why day-care owners would be tax-free, but not extended care facility owners. But if she expands "childcare" to include dog kennels, and the 'recreation credit' to include my gym membership I am all for it!

Healthy Children Strategy
  Her plan to help children between 0 and 6 pivots around teaching parents the basics of good parenting.

(At this point, the volume of information has dipped so precipitously that I am concerned I went to the wrong site, or perhaps I am being punked. It may seem like I am skimming, but rest assured Dear Reader, this is getting the same attention as the other sections - her writer must have gotten tired.)

Department of Human Services
This department will apparantly replace Child & Family Services, Community Spirit, Housing & Urban Affairs, Employment & Immigration and Aboriginal Affairs, which may put the system at risk of ignoring specifics and subtleties. The other commitments involve rearranging duties and responsabilites, renaming departments, and relaxing the Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act.
Sorry, what was that last part?
Oh, yeah. We're just going to loosen that up to allow people to help children in the system better. Ignoring the fact that she has so little faith in the current system that she is implimenting not only an independant children's advocate, she is also creating a serious incident response team just to better deal with situations that go 'pear shaped' - this is the perfect time to give them more responsability and power.

Living within Our Means
In order to support her decision to curb funding for the new Department of Human Services, she plans to open up the division to charity donations by taxpayers (don't we already give enough?) and investors, because investors are known for their ability to see dividends in the warmth of someone's smile.

Fiscal Policy
Planning for Alberta's Fiscal future
Ignoring the fact that she already dealt with this issue, as did I in part 1, she rehashes her plan, which sounded familiar. When I looked up Gary Mar's fiscal policy, I realized that if you smudge the numbers a little, the plans are identical. More reasons not to bother voting for Mr. Mar when you could have the favorably comparable Ms. Redford.  

All around not a bad set of policies, but as always it seems a bit confusing where the money is going to come from that will pay for these exorbitant programs. Politicians are a touch loathe to go on public record admitting that they will cut various programs, that invariably turn out to be well-loved by large groups of the community, but it is occasionally obvious that something has to give. I suspect it will be us taxpayers, however.

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