Readers of the news that Canada’s Health Accord has expired are reminded that it is time to inform themselves about what it is and what they are losing. The failure of federal officials to negotiate a new agreement to transfer adequate funding from Ottawa to the provinces, could mean the end of the public health care system (Medicare). Most Canadians, especially the elderly, believe it is their right to access community-based services such as home support, long-term, hospice and palliative care.
Most of us want a system which is working towards meeting the challenges of patient-centered care, reduced wait times for diagnosis and treatment by physicians, hospitals, and other health providers. Health care services, and not just our aging population, require proper funding.
Spending is not out of control, but is in fact stable and affordable. Most who depend on medications for their very lives favour a national pharmaceutical strategy. A universal pharmacare plan covering everyone, which is unfortunately still waiting to be enacted, would annually save Canadians billions of dollars.
Some argue that privatization of health services,would control health care costs. But, privatization is not sustainable, and moves costs outside public control. Federal leaders need to maintain control and revise provincial transfer allotments. At least they should not walk away from their role by refusing to negotiate. It’s time to reassert our fundamental right to a quality health care system accessible by all.
It’s time for a new Canada Health Accord.