Shelve Castonguay, support medicare

    OTTAWA, Feb. 21 /CNW Telbec/ - A Quebec government-sponsored report
calling for radical privatization of the health care system came out this week
just as the federal government proved once again that they're not willing to
enforce their own laws on public health care.
    The Castonguay report's recommendations read like a laundry list for
privatized health care.

    - letting doctors double dip - work in both the public and private
    - a cap on public health spending
    - market-based funding, which stamps a price tag on patients
    - forcing hospitals to compete rather than collaborate
    - letting for-profit companies manage hospitals
    - inviting more for-profit health insurance
    - cutting services, starting with hospital meals
    - annual fees and deductibles for necessary health services
    - another round of restructuring that will destabilize the health care
    - weakening the Canada Health Act.

    In rejecting Castonguay's more radical recommendations, Quebec Health
Minister Philippe Couillard emerges as a moderate force, Moist argued, even as
his government has moved more in the direction of private health care than any
of its predecessors.
    CUPE National President Paul Moist noted that this week's release of the
report on the Canada Health Act ignores Quebec's already significant inroads
into private health care as well as those of BC and other provinces.
    "We see private MRI clinics allowing people to jump the queue. We see the
reappearance of private health insurance and for-profit surgical clinics. We
see for-profit hospitals - the biggest privatized hospitals in the world. And
the list goes on - while in Ottawa we see no action," Moist said.
    "Health Minister Tony Clement's inactions speak louder than his weasel
words," Moist said.
    Moist called on the minister to publicly reject Castonguay task force
recommendations that are incompatible with the Canada Health Act, and to
demand the same of the Quebec government.
    CUPE's health care workers are always open to improving the system, but
not on the backs of the sick or of those who heal them.
    CUPE and other supporters of the public health care system launched last month to give Canadians a place to go to enforce
their rights under medicare and to encourage federal politicians to stand up
for the Canada Health Act.

For further information:

For further information: Chris Lawson, CUPE communications, (613)
237-1590 (Office)

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