Canadians cherish our public health care, but in 2019, funding cuts and an aging population are putting increased pressure on the system. Provincial spending cuts have whittled services down to the core and CUPE members working in health care can see the results of these cuts every day on the job. In turn, problems of understaffing and increased wait times heighten the perception that private, for-profit services are the only solution to the problems our public system is facing.
CUPE has long advocated for public, rather than private, solutions to the challenges facing health care because, in the long run, they cost less, cover everyone, and deliver greater service to the public.
A new report this week from the Canadian Health Coalition further shows why privatization isn’t the answer to the problems facing health care. The report details the need for publicly-driven reforms within our existing health care system, and how private health care worsens wait times, population health, and economic inequality.
The report concludes that to ensure continued, stable access to high-quality health care for all Canadians, stronger leadership and investment from the federal government is well overdue. “We need to fund the system fairly, ensure it stays public, and modernize and expand it,” the report advises.
The report outlines some paths to achieving a stronger health care system for all, including:
- Growing the federal share of health care funding
- Reducing wait times through increased funding and innovative measures such as introducing wait time standards and improving diagnostic and referral pathways
- Expanding our public health care system to cover all medically necessary care, such as coverage for prescription medications, long term care, and dental care
CUPE supports these recommendations and the ultimate goal of making our health care system truly comprehensive and accessible to everyone.