Michael Butler's blog
Medicare in Canada is being put on trial. Dr Brian Day, a for-profit clinic owner, has launched a lawsuit against the B.C. Ministry of Health which is ongoing at the province’s Supreme Court. While this case is provincial, the ruling will have national implications for Canada's universal, public health care system.
Yesterday it was an announcement that Quebec will be putting an end to health accessory/user fees by early January (full detail will be available on 28 September). The change in rules will make it illegal for patients to be charged for medical services that are covered through public health insurance.
Today, “The Council of Canadians organized a rally outside the Law Courts, which featured health care practitioners and researchers, as well as leaders from trade unions and civil society.”As Brian Day, who is known to many as ‘Dr. Profit’, attempts to land the knock-out punch to medicare, we were on hand to raise awareness and let court know we won’t stand by quietly as profit is patients.
The Council of Canadians attended the annual Council of the Federation meeting in Whitehorse this week where premiers from across the country gathered to tackle some of the most urgent issues facing Canadians.
Today more news broke on the cash-for-access scandal surrounding the Ontario Liberal Party. In the first three years of Premier Wynne’s mandate there were more than 150 cash-for-access fundraisers held by the party (this system has nearly tripled in size during the party’s 13 years in power). These events generally had tickets priced at between $5,000 and $10,000 a piece for exclusive access to the government’s most important MPs.
With the Health Accord set to fully expire in 2017, Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott has said, “that she would like a new Health Accord to be signed, sealed and delivered by year’s end. If that’s going to happen, negotiations have to begin in earnest now and the two (or more) sides have to make their positions clear by the time the First Ministers meet in Whitehorse in July.”
Health is a right and not a privilege. Yet, in Canada, there are an estimated 500,000 people, half of whom reside in Ontario, who are denied healthcare coverage due to their immigration status. This includes new immigrants in the three-month waiting period, temporary foreign workers between contracts, some international students, non-status individuals pending response to various immigration claims, and even returning Canadian citizens who have left the country for a period of time.
Today the Council of Canadians joined our allies from the Ontario Health Coalition as they delivered the results of a grassroots referendum on stopping hospital cuts in communities across Ontario. Over a thousand volunteers from across the province, including many Council of Canadians members and chapters, volunteered their time and energy to make the referendum possible. were asked to vote yes or no as to whether Ontario’s government should stop the cuts to community hospitals and restore services to meet the population need for care.
Canadians are getting older, that is no secret. While this doesn’t mean we are heading to some fiscal cliff where we can’t support public services, like the neoliberal think tanks would have you believe, it does mean we need to be honest with ourselves about challenges we will face in the near future (a national seniors strategy might be a place to start).