Health Care a Possible Vote Changer for One in Four Ontarians

OTTAWA, April 28 /CNW/ - Nearly one in four Ontarians (22.5 per cent) would be "very likely" to change their vote if the party they currently support fails to present a plan for the future of health care, according to a Nanos Research public opinion poll conducted for the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).

"Although health care is a vote changer for almost one-quarter of voters in Ontario, no party has presented a real plan for ensuring the long-term sustainability of our health care system," CMA President Dr. Jeff Turnbull said. "Our polling shows that the issue of health care is highly important among voters in Canada's most populous province and, in the last days of the campaign, politicians should not ignore the desire of Ontarians for a substantial vision for the future of our health care system."

The poll found that nearly four in 10 Ontarians (36 per cent) believe that health care should be the top priority for party leaders in the election, compared to 31 per cent who cited jobs and the economy and 13 per cent who said debt and deficit reduction. Most Ontarians (75 per cent) believe the federal government's role as custodian of the Canada Health Act is very important.

More than seven in 10 (73 per cent) of respondents 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 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.

With the current federal-provincial/territorial accord on health care funding set to expire in 2014, it will likely be the federal government elected on May 2 that will negotiate the next deal. The CMA believes the transformative change necessary to ensure our health care system meets patient's needs must be led by the federal government working in partnership with the provinces.

"The main political parties have all committed to renew the health accord in 2014, with a six-per-cent escalator clause. But to be meaningful, funding must flow from an overall plan, or strategy. And clearly, federal leadership is necessary in developing such a strategy," added Dr. Turnbull.

The CMA has also been consulting directly with Canadians, online at www.healthcaretransformation.ca and at a series of public town hall meetings.

The Nanos Research of 1,201 Ontarians was carried out between April 17 and April 24. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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:

Jennifer Arnold
jennifer.arnold@cma.ca
Tel. : 1 800 663-7336 / 613 731-8610 x 2350

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