Harper government not committed to public health care

Halifax-based Council of Canadians organizer Angela Giles and Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network chairperson Lee Seymour write, "The federal government under Stephen Harper is not committed to public health care, and some argue it is orchestrating its failure to ensure increased support for privatization or a two-tiered system."

They note:

  • "This past year, Harper cut funding for the Health Council of Canada, which led to its demise. (It was an independent, non-profit organization funded by Health Canada and mandated to monitor and report on the progress of health-care renewal in Canada.)"
     
  • "In December 2011, the federal government announced it would reduce the annual growth rate of health-care funding to the provinces and territories during the next 10 years (2014-2024), which will create additional stress on the system."
     
  • "Furthermore, the federal government has refused to negotiate with the provinces about these funding cuts, which will hit Nova Scotia particularly hard because of our aging population and higher incidences of chronic illnesses."

And they highlight:

  • "In 2004, the first ministers agreed to implement a national pharmacare program. Such a program would save $11 billion for Canadians."
     
  • "The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) signed in October between Canada and the European Union will cause these costs to rise even further. Although details have yet to be made public, it is well known that patent extensions for major European drug manufacturers were negotiated and will raise the cost of drugs by over $1 billion."

Giles and Seymour conclude:

  • "Bulk drug purchases, promoting nurse practitioners, and bringing Bill 144 into effect (the Insured Health Services Act, passed by the legislature in December 2012), and many other initiatives not mentioned here, will all move us in the direction of a stronger, more efficient public health system."

Further reading
WIN! Bill 144 becomes law in Nova Scotia, makes health care more equitable and accessible
CETA drug patent provision a bad deal
Silnicki opposes Harper funding cut to Health Council of Canada
Harper's Davos agenda must be stopped