A squeeze on disposable income as the economy nosedives could lead to healthier lifestyle choices, the province's health minister suggests, including fewer addictions and less obesity
"Somehow we've got to get Albertans to accept more personal responsibility for their behaviour," he said.
"I guess I'm hopeful that if people don't have the money to spend on Jolt and booze and everything else, maybe they won't become quite as addicted."
Uh huh. Got it. So if I get sick, it's clearly my fault because of something in my lifestyle. Using Liepert's logic, the poor should be the healthiest people on the planet.
... and then there's reality: (as opposed to ideology)
"That's a blame-the-victim approach that has been consistent in the Conservative ideology," Swann said. "They fail to see the social conditions that are creating the conditions in which people are making poor choices."
Calgary dietitian Sarah Remmer also isn't certain less disposable income will lead to healthier food choices. "A lot of people eat fast food because it's inexpensive," said Remmer, adding studies have shown people living in lower-income communities are more overweight or obese.
Of course, Liepert also uses this to signal to Albertans that he is setting things up to dismantle public health care in Alberta:
Less prosperity may also lower Albertans' expectations of what services should be covered under the public health-care system, added Liepert, who's leading the Alberta government's major over-haul of the medical regime.
"We're going to have some tough decisions to make in the budget coming next year and I think people are going to start to say, 'OK, maybe government shouldn't be covering everything,' " the health minister said after his speech.
Coming soon - pay for it yourself healthcare in Alberta:
On Monday, the province is unveiling a new plan broadly outlining the government's medical reforms. The plan will focus on sustainability of the medical system, whose costs have ballooned to $13.4 billion from$4.6 billion in 1998. However, the thorny issue of delisting services will not be addressed then, Liepert said.
Several other health announcements are planned, as the province's Dec. 15 deadline for this year's reforms looms.
Anyone for moving to Saskatchewan or B.C.?