It’s the last meeting of the provincial Premiers before the 10-year 2004 health accord expires. With the expiry of that accord, so too goes any concerted effort to implement a national strategy to fix health care.
July 24-25 the Premiers will get together at Niagara-on-the-Lake. We’ll be there too alongside community and labour representatives from across Canada gathered to send a united message that a public health strategy is essential to address the changing needs of our nation.
In fact, with no accord past 2014, there won’t be national targets for such issues as wait times, emergency room access, or coverage for catastrophic drug costs. Nor will the Health Council of Canada be in existence to monitor those targets. The Harper government has already said the Health Council will be dismantled with the end of the accord.
Download the registration form here: Shadow Summit Registration Form
Details re Toronto Region 5 bus to the rally at right.
While the Federal government is the fifth largest direct provider of public health care in Canada, they oddly don’t think they have a place at the table when it comes to deciding how to best support the health needs of everyone in this country.
Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has told the provinces they will continue to get six per cent increases in federal health transfers until after the next election. Then the funding will slide up and down with the economy – essentially reducing funding at precisely the moments when it is most needed.
Our Medicare system is basically the same one that came into being in 1966. It’s heavily focused on acute care delivery – the definition of essential health care mostly confined to doctors and hospitals.
The reality is our population is aging and health care needs are changing. So are the places from which health care is delivered. We have great need for better chronic and long-term care. We need to move beyond the patchwork systems of home care, something former Royal Commissioner Roy Romanow called the next essential service. This spring the movement for universal public drug coverage has been gathering steam as the analysis shows that Pharmacare could save billions of dollars in health care costs. Last year a national mental health strategy was unveiled — it will take considerable political will to get it implemented.