The Liberal government has declined to take any meaningful steps to stem the tide of privatization of our health care system. But, there’s still time to stop the political games and make a real difference to health care for all Canadians. The solutions are clear if the Americanization of our health care system is to be stopped in its tracks.
We just need political will.
Here are five concrete actions that the federal government can take today. The federal government must:
- Stop funding private, for-profit health care.
- Stop doctors from “double-dipping.”
- Establish minimum standards for universal access to all necessary services.
- Stop buying services from private, for-profit providers.
- Establish a new federal transfer for public health care infrastructure.
The first four actions can be implemented immediately under the existing Canada Health Act and regulations. Now is the time to lobby Prime Minister Paul Martin to take these five concrete actions.
You can also write or fax the Prime Minister at:
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Check out these other lobby tools:
- Read CUPE’s analysis of the Liberal health care proposals rejected by the NDP
- Equip yourself with talking points to lobby the government
- Send this sample “letter to the editor” to your local newspaper
Five concrete actions to protect health care:
1. Stop funding private, for-profit health care.
Because both the private payment for, and for-profit delivery of health care services invariably create barriers to universal access, Health Canada must immediately provide notices under s. 14 of the Canada Health Act of its intention to withhold funding to any province or territory that uses public funds to either directly or indirectly support the privatization of health care.
2. Stop doctors from “double-dipping.”
Because practices such as charging block fees, or fees for enhanced or so-called “unnecessary” services are creating significant barriers to universal access, physicians who receive public funding must not be permitted to bill patients or private insurers for other health care services.
3. Establish minimum standards for universal access to all necessary services.
Because many provinces are reducing the availability of publicly funded health care services by either de-listing services or by moving them out of public hospitals, minimum standards must be established to ensure universal access to all necessary health care services.
4. Stop buying services from private, for-profit providers.
Because the federal government must lead by example, it must immediately halt its widespread practice of purchasing heath care services from for-profit providers, for members of the armed forces, the RCMP, and others for whom it has direct responsibility.
5. Establish a new federal transfer for public health care infrastructure.
Because federal infrastructure funding is inadequate and often tied to some form of public private partnership, a federal infrastructure transfer must be established to build and redevelop hospitals and long term care facilities, modeled on the Canada Health Grants system that built our existing hospitals. Tie all health care infrastructure funding to public, non-profit ownership, control, management, and operation of the facilities, equipment and services.