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Our healthcare is being sabotaged by the federal government, and facing legal attack in the courts. 

From the Harper government’s deep budget cuts, to a lawsuit in BC that could shatter the legal foundation of Canadian public health care, our healthcare system is facing attacks on various fronts.

For decades, conservative groups have been pushing for the privatization of our health system. Prime Minister Harper made his career advocating for an American-style for-profit health system in Canada as the leader of the National Citizens Coalition   1.

What prevents him from succeeding in his privatization plan? Canadians. Over 85% of Canadians are supportive of public solutions to make our health system stronger   2. Harper knows full well that he cannot publicly attack our healthcare system without losing the next election, which is why he is trying to sabotage it instead.

Last March, Prime Minister Harper allowed the Canada Health Accord to expire without renegotiating a new deal with the provinces, and now plans to cut planned health funding by $36 billion over 10 years   3.

Now let’s make sure other party leaders commit to support a strong universal public health system in 2015.

Our health system is not perfect and we need to address challenges such as long wait times, the need for better senior care and the lack of drug coverage, but we know there are proven measures to address these issues within the public realm. Let’s make sure our leaders strengthen the system, rather than weaken it through defunding and misguided privatization efforts.

We all know the real costs of a for-profit health system. We only have to look at our neighbors to the south, who have the most expensive health system of the industrialized world, yet often ranks last in access, efficiency, and equity compared to other developed countries   4. In fact, Britain has recently gone through a wave of privatizations that have proved to be so devastating, they are now considering reversing some of those changes   5.

We have a choice to make. We can move down the path of privatization and compete with the US for the last place in healthcare rankings or we can move to protect and strengthen the public healthcare system that has made Canada a beacon of progress across the world.

Notes:

  1. Dr. Harper’s new and improved medicare http://murraydobbin.ca/2011/04/16/dr-harpers-new-and-improved-medicare/
  2. Nanos Poll Report for the Canadian Health Coalition http://healthcoalition.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Nanos-Poll-Report-CoF-2014-Aug.pdf
  3. Canada’s health care system is about to lose $36 billion http://cupe.ca/canadas-health-care-system-about-lose-36-billion
  4. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, 2014 Update: How the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/fund-reports/2014/jun/mirror-mirror
  5. Will MPs vote to right some of the NHS wrongs? http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/nov/18/mps-vote-nhs-wrongs-andrew-lansley-reform

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