AHS and the WEF
Alberta's health authority does have an agreement with the Davos clique, but if you look at its details, it sounds like something Premier Smith would otherwise support.
Let’s get this out of the way. I’m no fan of the World Economic Forum (WEF).
It exists to perpetuate global capitalism, which is particularly destructive towards the developing world, trapping over-exploited countries into a cycle of debt and austerity while cooking the planet.
The WEF hosts an annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland, where politicians of all stripes rub elbows with global financial elites to the detriment of the vast majority of the world.
The far-right depicts the WEF’s “Great Reset” as a guidebook towards a socialist New World Order, where everyone will be forced to take vaccines and eat insects. If only.
In reality, the reset is a way for global elites to maintain the basic structure of global capitalism in a post-COVID era to stave off any substantial change to the economic status quo.
The Orchard is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
As Naomi Klein wrote in The Intercept in December 2020: “If Davos wasn’t ‘seeking a better form of capitalism’ to solve the spiraling crises Davos itself systematically deepened, it wouldn’t be Davos.”
A recent piece from The Canadian Press about Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s vow to cancel an agreement between Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the WEF hilariously says the organization “has been the focus of conspiracy theories from both sides of the political spectrum:”
A decade ago, it was accused by the left-wing of conspiring to cut pensions and slash environmental programs.
It became the focus of attacks from the right during the COVID-19 pandemic, when it promoted a "great reset," calling for ideas on how to better organize global society post pandemic.
That started online conspiracy accusations, unproven and debunked, that the forum is fronting a global cabal of string-pullers exploiting the pandemic to dismantle capitalism and introduce damaging socialist systems and social control measures, such as forcing people to take vaccines with tracking chips.
On the one hand, we have left-wingers who criticize the WEF for things it actually does, and on the other we have the far-right who thinks it’s a globalist plot to establish One World Government. Always beware of bothsidesism.
In any event, AHS does have an agreement with the WEF, which was entered in July 2020.
So what is this agreement?
Is it a globalist conspiracy to sacrifice the independence of our health-care system to the WEF? Is it a neoliberal scheme to privatize health care on an international level? Or is it something far more banal?
A July 2 news release from AHS announced it was joining the WEF’s Global Coalition for Value in Healthcare. It says the goal of the agreement is to “accelerate the transformation toward value-based healthcare,” whatever the hell that means.
“Membership allows us to be internationally cutting-edge,” boasted Richard Lewanczuk, senior medical director of health system integration at AHS. “It lets us play in the big leagues.”
The coalition, which was formed pre-pandemic, asks its members: “How can we eliminate the US$3.2 trillion of annual global health spending that makes no or minimal contribution to good health outcomes?”
Essentially, the purpose of the agreement is to cut healthcare costs — something you’d think Premier Smith would support with enthusiasm — through establishing partnerships with other health-care institutions, including Harvard, the Mayo Clinic, Intermountain Health and Duke University.
Lewanczuk continues with some mumbo jumbo about how AHS can add a “very human dimension to the fiscal dimension of healthcare.”
“It doesn’t mean, ‘Was it cheaper?’ It really means, ‘Does the care we provide make sense?’” he said.
The partnership “enables AHS to try more new ideas … thanks to funds invested by global corporations,” the news release notes.
Proponents of privatized health care are fond of describing their project in corporate gobbledygook, such as “new ideas”, “good health outcomes” and “value” while noting in passing that they’re working with the private sector to do so.
There’s plenty to dislike about this agreement for proponents of a strong public health-care system. But Smith — who wants to create charter hospitals modelled on charter schools — can only object to the agreement based on its international scope.
Because, dammit, this is our public health system and Smith will privatize it as she sees fit — likely in the form of some Uber-like app.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to The Orchard to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.