Defending public health care in Alberta - 2019-12-17
Sandra Azocar is the executive director of Friends of Medicare, an advocacy organization that for the last four decades has been working to defend, improve and expand the public health-care system in Alberta. Scott Neigh interviews her about the importance of public health care, some of that history, and what Friends of Medicare faces today in an Alberta governed by the United Conservative Party under Jason Kenney.
The core argument for public health care over private for-profit health care is pretty simple -- the profit has to come from somewhere. That means that private for-profit health care ends up being less accessible and/or more expensive, and it reduces costs by eroding working conditions and lowering standards of patient care. There is no shortage of horror stories from the United States of people who have access to no health care at all, or to inadequate levels of care, or who acquire care through taking on brutal levels of debt. Because it allows rich people to buy better care, according to Azocar, private for-profit health care is "elitism, plain and simple."
Azocar worked for many years as a child protection worker and she went on to be a vice-president of her union, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees. She served on the board of Friends of Medicare for six years, before taking on the role of executive director for the last seven years.