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Council of Canadians to health ministers: Prioritize and protect medicare

Heart in health careOTTAWA – The Council of Canadians is encouraged to see the federal Minister of Health meeting with her provincial counterparts in Vancouver this week. The first such summit in recent memory, the Council is looking forward to real action and leadership that will uphold and protect Canada’s most cherished social program, medicare.

“With the renegotiation of the Health Accord once again a priority for the provinces and the federal government, we are expecting both parties to craft a solution that puts the well-being of Canadians first,” says Michael Butler, Health Care Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “The federal government must provide stable and sufficient funding in order to meet the premiers’ request of reaching a minimum 25% federal health funding by 2025. The provinces must also recognize that conditions need to be attached to the transfer in order to ensure that the Canada Health Act is no longer violated and ignored as it has been for over a decade." 

The Council of Canadians also insists that pharmacare be included in the discussion. The current patchwork system negatively affects the health of Canadians, with one in ten not able to afford their prescriptions. Canada has the dubious distinction of being the only OECD country with universal public health care that does not also have a pharmacare plan.

“A bulk-buying program for prescription drugs is not the same as universal coverage,” adds Butler. “There is an across-the-board agreement that universal pharmacare will improve the real health outcomes for Canadians and save as much as $9 to $11 billion annually in health care costs. Now is the time to get this right.”