The message was clear last night at a packed Victoria town hall meeting on the 2014 health accord: the provinces and federal government must work together to negotiate a new health accord that reflects Canadian values and addresses growing spending on for-profit care.
“Universal health care is a Canadian treasure. It’s about making sure that when we need care, we’re covered,” said Council of Canadians Chair Maude Barlow. “Before Medicare, families had to make choices we should never have to make between putting food on the table or caring for a sick child.”
The speakers addressed the federal government’s recent signals that it intends to take a hands-off approach to the 2014 health accord and warned that reduced transfers to the provinces will open the door to more for-profit health care.
“The federal government is putting the health care of Canadians and especially Canada's seniors at risk,” said Diana Gibson of the Parkland Institute.
"Public health care is sustainable," said Mike Luff, spokesperson for the National Union of Public and General Employees. "It's a myth that public health spending is out of control. It’s about priorities.”
Barlow noted that the premiers must stand up to the federal government and demand that the renewal of the health accord must be based on predictable, sustained federal funding that includes a six percent escalator for a full ten years.
The town hall speakers will be available for comment today when the premiers make closing announcements at the Council of Federation meeting.
The Council of Canadians is Canada’s largest member-based social justice organization. The Council advocates for a strengthened public health care system in Canada that ensures everyone has access to medically necessary services. The Council campaigns for provincial and federal governments to enforce the Canada Health Act and to create stand-alone legislation on pharmacare, continuing care, vision care, dental care, and mental health services.