(Ottawa) Paul Martins Liberals are risking further privatization in the name of health care reform, the head of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) charged today.
Unless there are guarantees of public delivery, the new money that Paul Martin is promising in todays election platform will go straight towards corporate profits rather reduce waiting lists, said Paul Moist, CUPE National President.
Four billion dollars dedicated to reducing waiting lists sounds impressive, but not when this means public money earmarked to underwrite private profits, said Moist. There is nothing in todays announcement which assures Canadians that the increased federal health dollars wont be hijacked to pad corporate profits through schemes like public private partnerships (P3s).
Weve seen in other countries what happens when you increase funding without ensuring public delivery, said Moist, referring to recent American research that shows that for-profit health facilities have higher death rates than public hospitals.
The British Medical Journal reported last week that private delivery of contracted-out surgical procedures cost the public health service 40% more in the name of reducing waiting times.
Paul Martin is trying to hide his real agenda because he knows that Canadians dont support for-profit delivery of health care, said Moist.
Moist noted that polls indicate that Canadians want public services like health care to be delivered by public sector workers accountable to governments, not by corporations accountable only to their shareholders.
Canadians want health care to remain in public hands because they know that public delivery is more cost-effective and far more accountable than for-profit service, but Martin is ignoring the facts to reward his corporate backers.
Moist rejected another prominent feature of the Liberal plan that creates a new dispute resolution process to enforce the Canada Health Act.
Letting an arms-length tribunal of government appointees decide what violates the Act is no way to enforce federal legislation, said Moist. If Paul Martin is serious about public health care he would follow the law of the land and not turn it over to another faceless and shadowy mechanism. What we need is backbone, not back rooms.
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For more information:
David Robbins, CUPE Communications, cell (613) 878-1431