Everyone needs to give during today’s health accord talks
Ottawa – The Canadian Health Coalition is concerned about the health accord talks scheduled for December 19th with finance and health ministers. While there has been much speculation and conversation on the Canada Health Transfer, the needs of Canadians have been left out of the conversation.
First and foremost when it comes to health care our provincial and federal governments should be ensuring public health care remains accessible to everyone. Federal dollars must be tied to strengthening, improving and expanding public health care in the provinces. “At this point in the talks, none of that is clear,” says Adrienne Silnicki, national coordinator, Canadian Health Coalition. “The federal government has been saying that the dollars will be transferred with strings attached, but we need to know that those strings include public delivery of care. If provinces like Saskatchewan continue privatizing public services, those without the ability to pay will suffer greatly.”
With Canada’s demographic shift to an older population, governments should be investing in appropriate seniors care. This includes more public home and long-term care. Instead, there is no federal aging strategy and much of the care that seniors require has become privatized and unaffordable. “It is the hope of the CHC that the provinces accept strings attached to funding for home care and that the federal government requires a guarantee that it will be spent on expanding public delivery,” says Silnicki.
The provinces aren’t the only ones that need to give-in during these pre-Christmas health accord talks. The federal government has continued with the Harper government’s plan to tie the CHT to GDP, effectively a 50% cut to the escalating transfer. Ontario has publicly countered the offer and suggested a 5.2% transfer, which according to the Ontario Financial Accountability Office (Spring 2016) is the minimum transfer needed for Ontario to be able to continuing offering their current basket of public health care services.
“Canadians are strongly in favour of expanding our public system. Polls have shown that over three-quarters of Canadians want a National Public Drug Plan and seniors care polls very favourably as well. Both of these items require strong federal commitment and leadership. We need the federal, provincial and territorial governments to come together this week and create a health accord that strengthens public health care for everyone.”
The Canadian Health Coalition is calling on the Federal government to continue funding health care at 6%, attach the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) to public health care spending, and expand public health care with new programs like a National Public Drug Plan and a seniors care plan. Provincial, territorial and federal governments must recommit their support to the Canada Health Act.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
National Coordinator, Canadian Health Coalition