Canada’s Health Coalitions signed a joint statement and held a media conference today on the recent bilateral health care deals and called for a united health accord.
Since late December, the federal government has abandoned a national health accord negotiation and is now signing bilateral health deals with the provinces and territories. These deals will not fund public health care at the necessary levels to maintain today’s public services. Canada’s Health Coalitions are calling for a national health accord which ensures everyone can access needed health care services in accordance with the Canada Health Act.
“The health coalitions are deeply concerned about the future of Canada’s universal, single-tier public health care system,” said Adrienne Silnicki, national coordinator, Canadian Health Coalition. “Today the Coalitions are warning that the bilateral deals will likely lead to cuts in public health care, further inequality across the country, and a reduced authority of the federal government to uphold the Canada Health Act,” said Mary Boyd, PEI Health Coalition.
Across the country, the health coalitions are sharing their concerns about how the bilateral deals will affect the people in their provinces and territories.
“The provinces and territories simply can’t afford to shoulder the proposed federal cut to the funding formula,” said Natalie Mehra, Executive Director, Ontario Health Coalition. “We are also deeply concerned the federal minister’s proposed ‘transformation’ will lead to damaging cuts to public hospitals. Funding needs to meet projected population need for hospital care and we need to create a continuum of public health care for the aging and chronically ill.”
“In Saskatchewan we’re very worried about a deal that underfunds health care. But we’re additionally concerned that the provincial and federal government have worked out a deal to allow wealthy Saskatchewanians to jump the queue and get health care services faster than the rest,” said Leading Eagle Man, Chair, Saskatchewan Health Coalition. “We want to see the Federal government uphold their commitment to the Canada Health Act and for Minister Philpott to make good on her warnings to Saskatchewan that they must deliver care in accordance with the principles of the Act.”
“Nova Scotia was one of the first provinces to sign the deal. The problems we’re facing with an aging population, and few resources especially in our rural communities will only be exacerbated by signing a deal that cuts current federal contributions almost in half,” said Chris Parsons, coordinator, Nova Scotia Health Coalition.
“The reality is that tying health care to GDP means that when we need health care the most, we have the fewest resources to pay for it,” said Rick Turner, Co-Chair of the BC Health Coalition. Turner urged the federal, provincial, territorial and First Nations governments to return to the negotiating table: “We need a health accord to unite the country in recommitting to a shared vision and framework for improving health care for everyone in Canada.”