Field notes.

The past year saw health care reforms making headline news, most notably with President Obama's new health care legislation. After several months of divisive debates in congress, the media and the public sphere, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law on March 23rd, 2010, shortly followed on March 30th, 2010 by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. One of the aims of American health care reform is to create a system that is financially accessible to more people. Here in Alberta, the new Alberta Health Care Act was introduced on November 1st, 2010. Based on recommendations put forth by the Minister's Advisory Committee on Health, the Act is meant to refocus Alberta health care from the "needs of institutions and providers to one that better recognizes and responds to people and families needing health services." (1)

Increasing health care costs and doubts about the health care system's efficiency and ability to serve the population's needs have evoked discussion on a variety of topics; all focused on the need to better serve the population. Reforms in the United States, and here in Canada, have highlighted the growing tension between funding priorities as well as the responsibility of citizens and the government in maintaining a healthy population and health care system.

The papers in this issue address different aspects of the responsibilities of patients, doctors and the government in ensuring the health of citizens' and a population as a whole.

First, in "Alberta's New Patient Charter", Tracey Bailey and Mark Amman discuss the proposed Health Charier as part of Alberta's new Health...

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