Health Care a Game Changer at the Ballot Box in BC

OTTAWA, April 8 /CNW/ - One in five (20 per cent) British Columbians would be very likely to change his or her vote if the party they currently support fails to present a plan for the future of health care, a Nanos Research public opinion poll conducted for the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) indicates.

"Our polls show that across Canada a core set of voters will mark their ballots based on how parties address the issue of health care," said CMA President Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull after the BC poll was released. "It's clear that any party that fails to address this priority is following a risky ballot box strategy."

British Columbians surveyed said health care (35 per cent) trumps the economy and jobs (25 per cent) as their top issue for the federal election. The environment came in third at 16.2 per cent. Almost two-thirds of respondents indicated the federal government's role as custodian of the Canada Health Act is very important.

Three in four (74.5 per cent) believe it is very important that party leaders present their plan to ensure that Canadians have a sustainable health care system that meets patient needs, and seven in 10 (71.2 per cent) think it's very important in the context of the election that the party leaders be willing to address the health care challenges facing Canadians.

"There is no doubt health care is a priority for voters, and Canada's doctors will seize every opportunity to remind politicians that this election should be about the priorities of Canadians," Turnbull said. "We, as well other health care professionals, are ready to work with all parties to build a better health care system for future generations."

The CMA president noted that, with the current federal-provincial/territorial accord on health care funding set to expire in 2014, the government Canadians choose May 2 will likely be the one to negotiate the next deal. In advance of the next accord, the CMA has been calling for transformative change to the health care system. It has also been consulting directly with Canadians, both online at www.healthcaretransformation.ca and through a series of public town hall meetings.

The Nanos Research poll of 1,202 British Columbians was carried out between April 1 and April 5.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians.  Founded in 1867, CMA's mission is to serve and unite the physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health care. The CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing over 74,000 of Canada's physicians and uniting at the national level the voices of 12 provincial and territorial medical associations.

SOURCE CANADIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

For further information:

Steve Wharry
steve.wharry@cma.ca
Tel. : 1 800 663-7336 / 613 731-8610 x2135
Cell. : 613 298-4669

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CANADIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

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