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OTTAWA – Senators looking at the future of Canada’s health care system are either nav0065 or dishonest when they say it doesn’t matter who owns the institutions and services that assure Canadians’ health, according to Canada’s largest health care union.

“There is clear evidence that privatization kills,” says Judy Darcy, National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, responding to the release today of the Kirby Report. “Independent medical research demonstrates that for-profit ownership of health care services results in a greater number of deaths.”

Darcy cited a study published this past spring in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association in which a team of researchers at McMaster University showed that mortality rates are higher in American for-profit hospitals.

Kirby’s report also ignores the risks posed by the North American Free Trade Agreement that further privatization of our health care system would open the doors to a wholesale invasion of our health care system by American HMOs.

“We know that under trade agreements, if we expand for-profit medicine we’ll see precious health care dollars sucked out of the country into the pockets of big business,” says CUPE’s National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Gnreux. “Corporations and competition are a recipe for dismantling our public health care system, not rebuilding it.”

“Canadians are looking for solutions that ensure we get top quality health care when we need it,” says Darcy. “But we’re not interested in creating profit-making opportunities for big business. Kirby’s support for private hospitals and clinics – so called private-public partnerships – diverts money from care into corporate profits and does nothing to reduce wait times.”

While the Senate report rejects some of the more hare-brained and dangerous notions that were promoted in its earlier reports – including medical savings accounts and increased user fees – it continues to recommend actions that would erode rather than strengthen our public health care system.

“Our health care system needs urgent, even radical reform, but it’s not in the direction of increased privatization,” says Darcy. “The way to improve access, reduce waiting lists and increase efficiency is to strengthen and expand our public health care system.”


For further information, contact:
Robert Fox, CUPE Communications - (613) 795-4977