Budget must include stimulus for public health care infrastructure to improve health care for all Canadians

    OTTAWA, Jan. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - Any economic stimulus package in the
upcoming federal budget must contain infrastructure funding for public health
care, says Kathleen Connors, Chairperson of the Canadian Health Coalition.
    "Canadians want public health care improved, and the federal government
must take advantage of this economic opportunity to invest in public health
infrastructure, including hospitals," Ms. Connors said. "This stimulus must be
directed to the public system, not to privatized, for-profit care. This means
that all health infrastructure funding must be tied to public, non-profit
ownership, with public control, management and operation of the facilities,
equipment and services."
    Operated in partnership with the provinces, a national public health care
capital investment program with an annual investment rate of .4% of the GDP
would address current public health care needs and begin to reduce the backlog
of unmet needs. A similar initiative, the National Health Grants program,
built most of our public hospitals in the past.
    "We speak for the majority of Canadians who want our public health care
system improved, not dismantled or turned into for-profit, privatized care,
like P3 hospitals," Ms. Connors said. "Privatized, for-profit health care has
become an increasingly serious threat that forces people to pay more... and
receive less." The experience of P3 hospitals such as the William Osler Centre
in Brampton, where costs escalated from $350 million to over $650 million
while the number of beds shrank from 608 to 479, is not an isolated example.
    "The government must realized that our treasured public health system is
one of the important drivers of Canada's economy," said Ms. Connors. "More
than one in ten Canadians work in this third-largest sector of the economy,
and our public health care system protects Canadians from one of the most
devastating consequences of economic downturn in the United States, the loss
of health care. And, in addition, public health care provides Canadian
businesses with a competitive advantage."

    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.

For further information:

For further information: Joan Weinman, (613) 294-5679

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Canadian Health Coalition

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