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The federal liberals must stop fiddling while the public health care system burns. There are five concrete actions Paul Martin can take today to curb privatization.

First of all, he must withhold funding to any province or territory that uses public funds to either directly or indirectly support for-profit health care.

He must stop doctors from “double-dipping” – something he has already declared himself willing to discuss. Doctors should not be allowed to provide services on both a publicly insured and privately paid basis.

Martin’s government must establish minimum standards for universal access to necessary or required health care services.

As a show of good faith, the federal government itself must stop purchasing for-profit health services for federal employees like the RCMP and the military.

And, it must establish a new federal transfer to finance new and upgraded hospitals. Paul Martin Sr. did this in the 1950s. His son can do it now.

There is still time in this Parliament to take these five concrete actions that will go a long way to stemming the destruction of our most cherished social program. The liberals just need to find the political will.