A strong public health care system benefits Canadians and our economy. It is fundamentally intertwined with our country’s history and our future. Serious commitments are needed to reduce wait times, increase staffing levels, and expand public health care services, especially in the areas of mental health, long term, home, and primary care.
Why it matters
- Canadians overwhelmingly support public, universal health care and oppose cuts to health care funding.
- Since they formed government in 2015, the Liberals haven’t been a champion of public health care.
- A strong public health care system benefits Canadians and our economy. It is fundamentally intertwined with our country’s history and our future.
- Serious commitments are needed to reduce wait times, increase staffing levels, and expand public health care services, especially in the areas of mental health, long term, home, and primary care.
- The failure to make significant and stable investments in health care opens the door to furthering the privatization of health care services. This leaves a person’s ability to access needed care dependent on their ability to pay for it, which violates the principles of the Canada Health Act.
- Without national standards, there’s no assurance that all provinces and territories will provide residents with the same quality and type of care.
How current policy is falling short
- In 2015, the Liberals promised Canadians they’d negotiate a new, national Health Accord and make new investments in health care.
- Instead, they abandoned this commitment and negotiated bilateral health agreements with the provinces and territories.
- This resulted in the loss of measures to improve health care nationally and $31 billion in health care funding over 10 years.
- When Medicare was first introduced, the federal and provincial governments each covered 50% of the cost. The federal contribution to health care spending has since declined and, in 2017, only covered 23 per cent of the cost.
What should be done
- Ensure all health care in Canada is consistent with the Canada Health Act, especially the principles that health care must be publicly administered and delivered and accessible to everyone.
- Increase the Canada Health Transfer, or the amount of federal health care dollars transferred to the provinces and territories, by at least 5.2 per cent per year. This is the minimum funding that’s required to simply maintain our current basket of health care services.
- Ensure all public health care dollars are invested in public health care services.
- Tie health care funding to national health standards to ensure that no matter where you live in Canada, you can expect to receive the same type and quality of care.
- Bring home and long term care under the Canada Health Act, making them publicly funded and delivered services.
- Expand public health care so that it covers us “head-to-toe”, including prescription drugs, mental health, addictions, and dental care.