Tag Archives: Michael McBane

The wake for the Health Accord was great, but what’s next?

Actress Shirley Douglas shares the stage with Tabby Johnson, Jackie Richardson and other performers from Holler 4 Health Care.

Actress Shirley Douglas shares the stage with Tabby Johnson, Jackie Richardson and other performers from Holler 4 Health Care last night at the Trinity-St. Paul Centre in Toronto.

There’s got to be a morning after.

Yesterday more than 40 communities across Canada marked the end of the 10-year health accord between the provinces and the federal government.

Listening to actress Shirley Douglas speak last night at one of those events in Toronto, its clear many Canadians believe there is much more at stake than a framework agreement that trades health care objectives for cash.

Before the rally began last night, the daughter of Medicare founder Tommy Douglas told the Toronto Star that her father had warned of the slow strangulation of health care, telling her “if you don’t get up and fight for it, you are going to lose it.”

With her 80th birthday just a couple of days away, Douglas vowed to fight on for the next decade if necessary, pausing to add the caveat provided she’s still around.

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Federal health funding scheduled to drop when it most needed — McBane

Michael McBane of the Canadian Health Coalition speaks to the Canadian Health Professionals Secretariat meeting Thursday. Seated next to him is NUPGE's Len Bush.

Michael McBane of the Canadian Health Coalition speaks to the Canadian Health Professionals Secretariat meeting Thursday. Seated next to him is NUPGE’s Len Bush.

OTTAWA – In the late 1970s it was Monique Begin, then Federal Minister of Health and Welfare, who suggested that citizens needed to mobilize into coalitions to make noise in society to get anything to work.

As Michael McBane, the present National Coordinator of the Canadian Health Coalition said Thursday, “governments are not likely to see the light first.”

In 1979 the Canadian Health Coalition began, with many of the provinces quickly following suit with their own coalitions, including the Ontario Health Coalition.

The first project the national coalition embarked on was a campaign to abolish extra billing by doctors. Charging user fees over and beyond those provided by Medicare, the campaign eventually led to a ban on extra billing as part of the new Canada Health Act passed in 1984.

Speaking before the Canadian Health Professionals Secretariat in Ottawa yesterday, McBane says that while some things have changed, we are still fighting similar “zombie” ideas that keep on coming back.

Today the coalition is again fighting extra billing by private clinics, this time without a federal government willing to enforce the principles of the Canada Health Act.

“We no longer have three parties that believe in Medicare,” says McBane.

Transfer payments from the Federal government to the provinces was originally intended to allow Canadians to access consistent national standards of health care regardless of where they lived.

The Harper government is clearly on another path.

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