Canada’s Premiers are asked to defend public health care and call for federal leadership
Canada wide – Public health care advocates from social justice organizations, youth and seniors communities, and labour joined in a walk and rally in Whitehorse, Yukon today. They were sending a message to Canada’s Premiers that public health care needs to be improved and protected and prescription medications need to be publicly insured.
“What we’re hearing from Canadians, especially seniors, is that they’re struggling to afford their medications, they’re worried about cuts in their community hospitals and clinics, and they aren’t sure if they can afford home or long-term care if they should one day need it,” says, Adrienne Silnicki, Canadian Health Coalition. “We’re asking the First Ministers to set an ambitious health care agenda so we can ensure a continuity of care that allows everyone to access the services they need”.
The provinces are currently set to begin losing over 10 billion dollars a year in decreased health care transfer payments from the federal government because of changes made by the previous federal administration that will tie the Canada Health Transfer to the growth rate of GDP. The Trudeau government could turn this around, but Health Minister Jane Philpott has publicly committed to continue with the decreased funding transfer.
“Investing in public health care and the creation of a national public drug plan is a win, win, win”, says Pauline Worsfold, Chair of the Canadian Health Coalition. “With a national public drug plan the provinces and territories will win, the federal government will win, and perhaps most importantly, everyone in Canada will win”.
Today’s march and rally in Whitehorse supported the premiers efforts to have federal leadership in health care and sent a message that Canada needs a strong health accord that includes:
- A national public drug plan which will ensure accessible medication for all;
- Increased transfer payments attached to health care spending; and,
- A national seniors care strategy which will ensure people can age safely and with dignity.
Health care advocates will be in Whitehorse for the remainder of Thursday and Friday and are hoping for a strong message from the Premiers calling for increased federal contributions and leadership for the improvement and protection of universal public health care.