Brian Jean Says Danielle Smith’s Health Spending Account App Is Effectively Digital ID

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on September 17, 2022

After former Wildrose Party leader and UCP leadership candidate, Danielle Smith, rolled out her plans for personal health spending accounts, fellow leadership candidate Brian Jean noticed that what Smith was proposing smelled an awful lot like a Digital ID program. 

The general idea behind Smith’s health spending accounts is that the government can divert some taxpayer money into $300 allotments per Albertan, per year, with extra tax incentives to contribute your own money to those accounts (including employers). 

This would help start to create a private healthcare market in Alberta to work alongside the public system, and would likely increase the availability of healthcare services in the province. 

Brian Jean contends that the way this app is proposed to operate would require Albertans to create a Digital ID with the government.

Jean argues that despite Danielle Smith’s campaign comparing the app you would need to access the healthcare spending account to Uber or Airbnb, those apps do not require you to provide official identification details. 

Many opponents of Digital ID take issue with the idea that the government will begin to require verification of your identity to access more and more services, and although verifying ID for a health spending account app may not seem like a big deal, it sets a precedent for more intrusive ID requirements. 

In a response to criticism of his position on Smith’s health spending account app concept, Jean stated that:

Now some people don’t care about government mandatory digital ID. Some people are deeply worried about it. This proposal with a government App that pays providers means the App on “your phone or device” will have to know exactly who the user is. That is digital ID.

Private sector companies get around this need by using a credit card – they don’t need to know with certainty who you are, just that your credit card company is happy that you are who you say you are and that the credit card company will pay the bill.

It is different for a government program where you will authorize money out of an account that nominally belongs to you and give it to a service provider.

Based on all her social media activity, as well as emails sent to UCP members, it does not seem as if Danielle Smith has responded yet to Brian Jean’s criticism of her healthcare spending account app plan. 

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

4 responses to “Brian Jean Says Danielle Smith’s Health Spending Account App Is Effectively Digital ID”

  1. Dan Kitteringham says:

    Then he has no idea what digital ID really is. Or he’s making a strawman argument. Everytime each of us use medical services the event gets logged in our Alberta Health account records. The health spending account is just an addition to our health records and holds no more and no less information about our personal security that AHS already has on each of us. It is not any form of ID whatsoever. Stay away from Jean and Toews. Those two are manipulators for the Kenney cause.

  2. Daryl Kitteringham says:

    I feel Danielle Smith is awesome and she wants to better the lifes of every Albertan. Riding her ideas with opinion is weak. A strong leader is followed and questioned. Rest my case.

  3. g-hosts says:

    Ok………… what about those who don’t and won’t get a cellphone for this “app”? Many do not want or have cellphones because of the ongoing contact, interruptions, etc and will not get one……Apparently it’s to provide proof of who you are……… isn’t that why having a doctor, medical records on an already established system is supposed to do? What about the homeless, addicts, etc……… Does anyone really believe they’ll keep theirs handy?…. This is just akin to having self-serve health……..

  4. Connie says:

    Well, that sounds shady. Alberta’s new heroine? Or another slippery UCP (uniparty) politician herding simpleminded lambs into the pen.