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Apr 05

Health care and the Federal election: what’s up? Not much.

ConfusedSo, I’m perplexed. One full week in to the federal election campaign, and not one substantive commitment, idea or discussion of health care. The number one issue on the minds of Canadians, and virtually nothing beyond the platitudes in pre-taped ‘ads’. You might ask, given the limited contribution of the Feds to the provinces in transfer funding, what role does that level of government even play anymore? I have a few thoughts there. Surely the federal government is obligated to lead the things that only it can do: set national standards and benchmarks for care; develop and lead national initiatives for common concerns across all provinces, and hold all provinces accountable for compliance with the Canada Health Act. Our federal government had dropped all 3 of these balls.

In re-reading the 2003 First Minister’s accord on health care reform, one cannot help be struck with how little progress has been made. Commitments were renewed to the 5 core principles of the Canada Health Act, and specific commitments were outlined regarding primary care reform, improved access to care, funding for home care, a national pharmaceuticals strategy…and on and on.  I attended the forum hosted by Maclean’s magazine and led by the Canadian Medical Association in Edmonton on March 29th, and care to guess what the assembly of committed individuals in attendance was most passionately calling for? A renewal of the Canada Health Act and visible commitments to its founding principles, improved access to care, improvements in home care funding, a national pharmaceuticals strategy…sound familiar? Canadians, and specifically Canadian nurses, need to remind our federal candidates of this lapse in progress, and demand better!

How will you help bring the issue of health care reform back into the electoral discussion? Share your strategies, ideas and comments, please!

Image courtesy of: growfromhere.com

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