Coalition urges Harper to protect Canada's public health care; calls Prime
Minister's silence 'distressing and dangerous'

Prime Minister, Stand on Guard for Medicare

OTTAWA, Sept. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadians are "frustrated and disheartened" by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's silence in the face of attacks on Canada's public health care system, says Michael McBane, National Coordinator of the Canadian Health Coalition. The healthcare group is calling on the Prime Minister to show Canadians where he stands on keeping Canada's health care system public.

In a letter today to the Prime Minister, Mr. McBane wrote that the Prime Minister has refused to speak up as Canada's health care system is being misrepresented during the U.S. debate over health care reform.

"Even as you met with President Obama and the issue was raised by the media, you implied there was no federal role in overseeing our national health care system," said Mr. McBane. While your silence on this issue is distressing, your passive support for the privatization of public medical services is truly dangerous to our health care system."

Mr. McBane pointed out that the Prime Minister has stood idly by as provinces allowed queue jumping, user-fees, and the expansion of for-profit clinics, particularly Québec, B.C. and Alberta. Canadians pay more and get less with privatized health care.

Surveys prove that Canadians value the public health care system, Mr. McBane said. "The federal government's own study, 'Healthy Canadians - a Federal Report on Comparable Health Indicators 2008,' showed that 85% of Canadians are satisfied with the way health care services are provided. A survey done for the Canadian Health Coalition by Nanos Research found overwhelming support (86.2%) for strengthening public health care rather than expanding for-profit services.

Mr. McBane said that Canadians are looking to the Prime Minster for leadership on this matter of national importance, "Canadians expect your government to defend our health care system from misrepresentation and to enforce the Canada Health Act.

The Canadian Health Coalition is a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting and expanding Canada's public health system for the benefit of all Canadians.

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Dear Prime Minister:

As Canadians who are proud of our country and proud of our valued public health care system, we are frustrated and disheartened by your continuing silence on important issues affecting health care. We are asking you, as the Prime Minister of Canada, to stand on guard for Medicare.

Canadians have been angered by the dishonest representations of our public health care system made during the last several months by various groups and individuals in the United States. Members of Parliament have publicly spoken in the United States in support of our system. Health professionals have raised their voices to defend our health care. Canadians have written to President Obama to correct the lies and misrepresentations of the Canadian system. They have made videos and given speeches to tell their neighbours to the South the truth about Canada's universal public health care.

Why, Prime Minister, when so many Canadians are looking for leadership and statesmanship on this issue have we not heard one word from you to defend our national public health care system? Even as you met with President Obama and the issue was raised by the media, you implied there was no federal role in overseeing our national health care system.

While your silence on this issue is distressing, your passive support for the privatization of public medical services is truly dangerous to our health care system. Canadians pay more and get less with privatized health care.

You have stood idly by as provinces allowed patients to be charged user fees for insured health services and queue jumping for those who are able to pay.

You have not spoken up as for-profit clinics expanded over the last five years in almost every region of the country, particularly Québec, B.C. and Alberta.

You have not responded to violations of the Canada Health Act by for-profit clinics who mix medically necessary and unnecessary services and bill the patients.

Prime Minister, Canadians care deeply for their public health care system. The federal government's own study "Healthy Canadians - A Federal Report on Comparable Health Indicators 2008" clearly showed that 85% of Canadians are satisfied with the way health care services are provided. A survey done for the Canadian Health Coalition by Nanos Research found overwhelming support (86.2%) for strengthening public health care rather than expanding for-profit services.

Canadians want to make sure that our public health care system continues to provide access to quality health care for all. They want to see our treasured health care system improved with made-in-Canada solutions within the public system.

Canadians expect your government to defend our health care system from misrepresentation and to enforce the Canada Health Act.

    
    Prime Minister, stand on guard for Medicare.
    Yours sincerely,

    SIGNED

    Michael McBane
    National Coordinator
    Canadian Health Coalition
    www.medicare.ca
    

SOURCE Canadian Health Coalition

For further information: For further information: Michael McBane, National Coordinator, Canadian Health Coalition, Tel.: (613) 277-6295, www.medicare.ca


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