A CBC article has triggered the entire left wing political apparatus into a collective convulsion over a small clinic in Alberta that’s charging membership fees — but newly uncovered information points to this being another political hit job on UCP Premier Danielle Smith.
The Marda Loop Medical Clinic owner, Dr. Sally Talbot-Jones, came under fire this week after the CBC reported she started a membership model at her clinic, one that charges $4,800 per year for two parents and two children, and $2,200 per year for an individual adult membership.
Ironically, Talbot-Jones appears a fully blown NDP supporter, given she has a history of pro-NDP and anti-UCP tweets. She’s tweeted support of the NDP and opposition to the UCP multiple times since 2020.
For example, in 2020, she retweeted “I think we can all agree that UCP Press Secretaries are a non-essential service.”
Nonetheless, opposition leader Rachel Notley of the New Democrat Party (NDP) has been hammering the ‘I-told-you-so’ bell since CBC broke the story. Notley claims that Smith is the culprit for this “two-tiered” medical system.
Despite framing the development as a “growing” trend, the CBC admitted that such clinics existed under Notley’s own watch as Premier between 2015-2019. In fact, clinics with membership fees were around in 2008 — but that hasn’t stopped Notley from gaslighting Albertans into blaming the development on Smith.
To this point, the UCP’s Health spokesman, Scott Johnston, said earlier this week that there are 13 clinics in Alberta that charge membership fees for medical services — and that the clinics aren’t violating the Health Canada Act, as they don’t provide faster access to services that are paid for by taxpayers.
Asked why the NDP didn’t care so much about the clinics during their own time in power, the NDP’s critic for health, David Shephard said, “It took some time for that to work through. Unfortunately, that work was not completed in full by the time we reached the 2019 election.”
The NDP did end up tabling legislation to fight said clinics in March 2019, but only when the writing was on the wall that they were weeks away from getting crushed by the UCP in the provincial election.
As for Talbot-Jones, she said the choice to switch to a membership model was a business decision — and that once per week, non-members are able to access her clinic.
“We’re empathetic people. We want to look after patients. But at the end of the day, the bank doesn’t care that you’re empathetic,” she said.
“And patients were actually asking for options.”
Talbot-Jones also said she believes her clinic’s membership fees are legal, and not in contravention of the Canada Health Act, because her clinic provides more services than what’s covered by basic health care.
She said she knows that other private clinics exist in Calgary, but they don’t all advertise it.
“This is not the first time it’s happened. I’m just, kind of, made this public at the wrong time, when people are upset,” she said.