By JARED ANDERSON
Public health care as we know it is under threat in Canada.
For as long as it has existed, it has been under attack. The very idea that an essential service like health care should be free of charge, not-for-profit and accessible to all has never sat well with Canada’s elite and their propagandists.
“We need two-tier health care.”
“We need more private clinics.”
“Public health care is broken.”
All of these statements are lies, lies intent on opening the door to for-profit health care and eroding the public system.
We do not need two-tier health care. What we need is more public health care: more funding, more hospitals, more clinics, more doctors.
Health-care funding has taken a beating in the past, especially in the 1990s under the Liberal government of former prime minister Jean Chretien and former finance minister Paul Martin, when the health-care budget was significantly cut. Twenty per cent in public spending was cut.
That, coupled with former Ontario premier Mike Harris’ cutbacks at the provincial level with hospital closures and laid-off staff, dealt health care in Ontario a major blow. Public spending was reduced and public services were privatized, ruining the lives of working people, but there was enough money for corporations, who received billions in corporate tax cuts.
Under Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his majority government, health-care funding is a whole new ball game.
It’s “up to the provinces to find the ‘solutions’ to a better health system,” Harper said in a December 2011 CTV News interview.
In that same month, the federal government announced a health-care transfer payment with the provinces that is non-negotiable. Making the provinces primarily responsible for health care will help erode public health-care services. Provinces may not have enough money to maintain public health insurance, and it will be easier for provincial governments to use this lack of money as an excuse to expand private health-care services and to violate the Canada Health Act, the piece of federal legislation that’s supposed to protect Canada’s health care system.
“We’re really disappointed with the six per cent funding commitment,” says Michael Hurley, President of Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, of Harper’s current annual health-care funding.
“Harper is manipulating the provinces to open the door to private health-care delivery, which is more expensive and inefficient,” said Hurley.
Hurley also pointed out Canada’s aging population, which needs public access to health care more than ever.
What should be done about health care? All provincial premiers in Canada recently met
in Victoria, B.C. to discuss the issue without the federal government.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Canada’s largest union, which represents most health-care staff, has called on the provinces to “reject further privatization of services – that would increase costs, reduce accessibility, and worsen wait times
in the public system,” and to “enforce the Canada Health Act, including the ban on user
fees” and to promote “public sector solutions to shorten wait times.”
Such measures are elementary.
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Зеб Стумп остался один в конюшне.