On eve of medical association's annual meeting: New poll shows overwhelming support for public health care; CMA president out of touch with most Canadians

    OTTAWA, Aug. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - In a last ditch effort to convince
Canadians that the public health care system should be privatized, Canadian
Medical Association (CMA) President Robert Ouellet has promised to "pull out
all the stops" during the association's annual meeting next week. Trouble is,
Dr. Ouellet's mission to "lead the change" to privatization, is exactly the
opposite of what 86% of Canadians want.
    A new poll conducted by Nanos Research points to overwhelming support
(86.2%) for strengthening public health care rather than expanding for-profit
services. "With more than eight in ten Canadians supporting public solutions
to make public healthcare stronger, there is compelling evidence that
Canadians across all demographics would prefer a public over a for-profit
healthcare system," said Nik Nanos, President of Nanos Research. Nanos
Research was commissioned on behalf of the Canadian Health Coalition (CHC) to
conduct a random telephone survey of 1001 Canadians between April 25th and May
3rd. The margin of accuracy for a sample of 1,001 is +/-3.1 percentage points,
19 times out of 20.
    As well, the federal government just released its report: Healthy
Canadians - A Federal Report on Comparable Health Indicators 2008. Its
findings identically mirrored the CHC polling results. In that report, a
leading indicator pointed to the fact that, "Most Canadians (85.2%) aged 15
years and older reported being 'very satisfied' or 'somewhat satisfied' with
the way overall health care services were provided, unchanged from 2005."
    "Throughout our campaign, Canadians have told us they want to keep our
health care system public and to improve it with made-in-Canada solutions.
They also have told us they flat-out reject Dr. Ouellet's proposal to provide
us with American-style two-tier medicine. This poll certainly underlines that
for us. Eighty-six percent is a significant portion of the population," said
Michael McBane, National Coordinator of the Canadian Health Coalition. "It is
striking that Dr. Ouellet could be so out-of-touch with the pulse of most
    McBane warned that Dr. Ouellet's latest effort to replace public health
care with a private system uses language that is misleading. "If imported into
Canada, Ouellet's ideas about activity-based funding, 'competition' and more
private delivery would not yield European-style care but instead would lead us
down the road to US-style care. At the CMA's annual meeting later this month,
you will hear Dr. Ouellet talk about 'patient-centered' care but he really
means 'profit-centered' care. He will talk about transformative health care -
which really means transforming a public system to one that is private. He
will also unveil results of a CMA survey that he claims shows support for his
new privatization scheme. In fact, the language used in the CMA survey was so
vague and misleading that its results cannot possible be interpreted as
support for more for-profit medicine."
    McBane said that Dr. Ouellet, who owns or manages 5 private, for-profit
diagnostic clinics, has a history of misleading Canadians. Recently, the CMA
president toured Canada touting the merits of what he called the European
model of health care - cobbling together selective pieces of information from
different European systems to lull Canadians into accepting the idea of more
private, for-profit service.
    "Dr. Ouellet needs to stop misleading Canadians and start telling them
what he's really up to - privatizing our health care system," said McBane.
"His 'transformational change' agenda is his last kick at the can before
becoming the CMA's past-president. Dr. Ouellet's privatized, for-profit vision
won't solve a single problem of our public health care - and more importantly,
Canadians don't want it. And they've said this loud and clear."

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

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