International News Desk – At Home: Albertans to Receive Free Health Care – In Foreign News: Scientists and leading economic experts warn that measures to curb global warming are harming the economy

International News Desk – At Home: Albertans to Receive Free Health Care – In Foreign News: Scientists and leading economic experts warn that measures to curb global warming are harming the economy

At Home: Albertans to Receive Free Health Care

It was announced in Alberta’s budget this week that funds have been allocated to cover the personal portion of the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP).

Currently, Albertans pay $44 per person per month to stay insured under the plan.

Until now, anyone reaching the age of 65 has been exempt from paying premiums (as well as their spouses, if they were younger than 65). Also, premium subsidies have been available for Albertans with low incomes.

This change is set to take place January 1, 2009, and officials at Alberta Health Care are reminding everyone that they are still responsible to pay all their premiums up to that time. They also note that Albertans are still required to keep their AHCIP cards and to present them when they go for treatment.

According to the Edmonton Journal, Premier Ed Stelmach says the Conservatives are merely coming through on their promise to eliminate premiums within the next four years. Stelmach is quoted as saying, ?We said we would do it sooner if we could and that is exactly what we’re doing.?

Provinces decide individually how to charge (or not) for health care premiums.

The goal of the Canada Health Act is to ?ensure that all residents of Canada have reasonable access to medically necessary insured services without direct charges.? Each province determines how they will administer their health care and premium program.

In Foreign News: Scientists and leading economic experts warn that measures to curb global warming are harming the economy

Depending on how much attention you normally pay to environmental issues, you may or may not be aware that a few years ago, before global warming became the hot topic of the decade, experts warned that the speedy switch from traditional fuels to biofuels would place too much pressure on farmland to be sustainable.

Of course, this biofuel option was the first explored by scientists and even politicians, with George W. Bush being one of the most outspoken national leaders on the subject.

Critics warned that although biofuels do offer a clean-burning, natural, and renewable alternative to gasoline, the mass production of fuel crops would lead to further deforestation and have other major repercussions on the environment. In South American countries especially, rainforests fell into immediate danger because of the deforestation caused by creating prime farmland for crops like corn and palm that can be processed into fuel.

Like too much other good advice, these predictions were ignored as the United States and other countries plowed ahead with scientific exploration of biofuels, content in the idea that clean fuel with no carbon emissions would cure the problem outright.

Now, biofuel production has come back to haunt us because the cropland being used to produce these fuels has been diverted from food production. Economically speaking, this means that food prices are rising right along with gasoline and the average North America is feeling the pinch.

Biofuel is a great innovation, but clearly we need to look at some other options when it comes to dealing with global warming.

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