By on January 9, 2013

Dear Editor:

The federal NDP is organizing public consultations on the future of free, universal health care in our country.
The consultations will focus on four priority areas, including improving access to prescription medication, home and long-term care services, the role of health care professionals and how to assist all Canadians in leading a healthier lifestyle.
As NDP health critic Libby Davies stated, “We can work together with Canadians, health care professionals and the provincial and territorial governments to determine what changes are needed to adopt our health care system to the 21st century.”
At my recent Princeton MP forum, Ed Staples, vice-president of the Save Our Hospital Coalition, gave an excellent overview of health care in Canada as part of his presentation.
“The founding principle of health care in Canada is equality,” said Staples during his presentation. “This principle gave us the Canada Health Act, which provides for equal access to quality health care regardless of who you area, where you live, or how much money you make.
“Unfortunately, this principle is under attack at both the provincial and federal levels. These attacks come in the form of budget cuts justified by the alarmist message that health care costs are unsustainable.
“Sustainability rationale is a myth. As a percentage of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product, health care spending has remained steady at between four and five per cent since 1975.
“In solidarity with the B.C. Health Coalition, the Princeton Save Our Hospital Coalition opposes any erosion of the Canada Health Act’s principles of universality, comprehensiveness, portability, accessibility and public administration.”
Canadians deserve the best care in the world and there is no reason they shouldn’t get it. There are affordable improvements we can make to medicare and New Democrats are committed to getting the job done.
Medicare was established to make sure Canadians have the quality health care they need regardless of their ability to pay. Unfortunately, today there are growing disparities in health care coverage across Canada.
Change is needed.
The federal government must bring everyone to the table to establish the practical first steps needed to bring our health care system into the 21st century.
In B.C., cancer drugs are covered while in Ontario many patients have to pay for them and over five million Canadians don’t have a family doctor.
Your access to home care depends on where in the country you live.
There is something wrong with this picture.
What the federal government should do is re-invest in the health care system to ensure provinces and territories can give you access to the health care professionals you need, make sure you have access to safer, more cost effective prescription drugs and bring provinces and territories together to provide better home care and long-term care.
The government should give you the tools to lead a healthy lifestyle.
In the long tradition of Tommy Douglas, New Democrats believe that, through the Canada Health Act, the federal government can work with provinces and territories to provide solutions that will make our public health care system sustainable for generations to come.
It’s time for the federal government to restore the necessary resources needed to make access to quality health care a reality for every Canadian.
New Democrats would uphold commitments to the current agreed upon six per cent escalator in federal health transfers and work with provinces and territories for a new set of health accords that ensure improved health outcomes for all Canadians. Thank you for the opportunity to speak on this issue.

Alex Atamanenko
NDP MP for
B.C. Southern

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One Comment

  1. Barb Roth

    January 25, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    I think it is time people of Osoyoos realize the implications of shopping in Oroville has on our health care. Each one of us has spent more in Health Care costs than we contributed thru income tax paid. Every dollar u spend in oroville denies a contribution to B.C’s health care. yes, u save $10 on a tank of gas, a few dollars in groceries, but u r depriving the contribution our local businesses pay in tax. If u want to shop in Washington, then go try their health care, and see how much it costs!

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