Monday, July 08, 2013

Healthcare Is Next

In today's Toronto Star, Natalie Mehra and Michael McBane warn that the Harper government is taking aim at Medicare. For the system to work, the prime minister needs to meet with his provincial counterparts. However,

This summer’s gathering of the premiers marks the final Council of the Federation meeting before 2014, when the National Health Accord expires. Penned in 2004, the 10-year health accord set priorities to improve access to health care and established a new funding formula.
The meetings do not include the federal government and Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not be in Niagara. What many Canadians do not realize is that there are no first ministers’ gatherings of all the premiers and the prime minister anymore. Harper refuses to attend them.

Even  more importantly, Harper has refused to talk about two cornerstones of an evolving medicare program:

In 2004 the provinces, territories and federal government established a National Pharmaceutical Strategy. Finally, progress was promised toward a national drug coverage program that would actually cut overall drug costs through bulk buying and better co-ordination. But since their election, the Harper Conservative government has refused to participate in this committee, effectively killing the dream of national drug coverage and stalling progress on reducing drug prices for the better part of the last decade.
In 2004, out of the health accord discussions, the provinces and federal government also began work to discuss home and continuing care. Progress on creating a national home and continuing care strategy is vital for more than a million Canadians who struggle with high out-of-pocket costs for post-hospital care.

Harper's antipathy to public healthcare is unmistakable. Mehra and McBane write:

In fact, the federal Conservative government’s antipathy to public medicare is becoming more and more overt. Not only has it walked away from the table on a national drug program and home care, it has also bluntly refused to meet with the provincial governments about renewing the funding formula for health care. Instead, the federal government plans to reduce funding from current projections by $36 billion in upcoming years, reversing the gains made in the health accord. In the latest budget, the government cut the Health Council of Canada as well as health services for veterans and refugees. The federal health minister has done nothing to implement the National Mental Health Strategy and has taken no action to uphold single-tier medicare in the face of private clinics extra-billing patients in provinces like British Columbia.

Mr. Harper is a one man wrecking ball. He was absolutely serious when he declared that we wouldn't recognize Canada when he was through with it. He, quite literally, is a hazard to your health.


Lorne said...

I read a story in this morning's Star on Samara, the group whose aim is to promote political participation in Canada. Not surprisingly, it reports a very low level of involvement on the part of our citizens. Your post, Owen, offers ample reason for Canadians to get off the couch and start getting involved in the democratic process through discussion and education. Otherwise, people like Harper will continue to gut the fine traditions of our country.

Owen Gray said...

As you've written several times, Lorne, civic apathy is the real reason our democracy has been debased.

Perhaps the threat to medicare will get Canadians to rise up and shout, "Enough!"

Ck said...

I knew this was going to happen. Look at what Harper said about universal health care when he was with NCC. He hasn't changed his stripes.

Also, Harper also wrote something for the book jacket of Dr. David Gratzer's book, "Code Blue". This book was basically saying that Canada should adapt American health care system, you know, with pre-existing condition discrimination and all.

Anyone who thinks that further privatization of our health care system won't be anything like the American system is seriously deluding themselves.

As for regular folks. Even scarier, as they see waiting lists go up and the like, they are starting to warm up to American health care system.

Real simple, gut the health care system, get folks mad and flash pictures of Shona Holmes in her plush room at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, and folks romanticize the idea.

As someone who lives in Quebec, private for profit health care capital of CAnada, I can tell you that it is not working and our waiting lists are not shorter than those of anywhere else, in fact, they are longer. Hint: over 200 doctors in La Belle province left the medicare system entirely in favour of private for profit facilities.

Also, our health care system seems to cost more than that of several provinces.

Hint, the feds don't care. Ever since Melvin Howard and his Centurion group sued the feds in 2008 because of NAFTA infringements (Chapter 11)(last I heard, it's before NAFTA arbitrators)

Scary is that Harper succeeded in shoving the population that hard right turn

Owen Gray said...

It really is frightening to realize, ck, that a significant portion the public believe that Harper is acting in the "public interest."

We should know by now that Harper is all about "profit." In his world, if something doesn't turn a profit, it must be eliminated.

It sounds like that model of healthcare delivery is now well established in Quebec.

thwap said...

harper hates dealing with the premiers about anything.

harper is a gutless coward and he knows the premiers are mad at him and not afraid to express it.

he'd rather hide in is office and delude himself about his historical importance.

Owen Gray said...

He's retreated to the bunker, thwap, because he's losing control. He refuses to meet with the premiers because he is afraid that they would control the agenda.

It's all about control.