Alex Himelfarb understands the 2004 10-year health accord better than most. At the time it was negotiated, he was the highest ranking civil servant in Ottawa.
The $41.3 billion Accord was supposed to fix health care for a generation. It would reduce wait times, provide catastrophic coverage for costly prescription drugs, focus on strategic health human resources, invest in first dollar coverage for home care, conduct primary health reform, and increase accountability and reporting to citizens through the Health Council of Canada.
Himelfarb, now director of York University’s Glendon School of Public and International Affairs, doesn’t dispute that it failed to reach expectations, but argues that has a lot to do with the Harper government which never wanted the plan to work.
“They didn’t do all they had to do as a government, then said it didn’t work,” Himelfarb said last week at a luncheon held by the Canadian and Ontario Health Coalitions.