September 7th, 2016

Is public health care in Canada really under threat? The answer might surprise you.

Creeping privatization, planned cuts, and a new court challenge all spell trouble for Medicare

Canadians cherish the public health care system that New Democrats first created over 50 years ago. It’s a big part of what defines us—and why Canadians chose Tommy Douglas as the Greatest Canadian.

The quality of your family’s health care shouldn’t be determined by the size of your paycheque—that’s a core Canadian value. But now it’s in serious jeopardy.

Creeping privatization, planned spending cuts, and a new court challenge could be the beginning of the end of public health care as we know it in Canada. Here’s a look at some of the recent developments:

“Dr. Profit” takes public Medicare to court

This week, in a Vancouver court room, Dr. Brian Day—who owns a private health care corporation—is arguing that laws banning fees and extra-billing are unconstitutional.

As Rick Turner, co-chair of the BC Health Coalition puts it: “The case challenges the core values that underpin Canadian public health care: That our access to care should based on need, not on our ability to pay. It is difficult to overstate the threat this litigation poses to our health, equity, and economy.”

Ottawa warned about risks of private health care

A recently released report warns the federal government that more private health services would be hazardous to the many ordinary Canadians who can’t afford for-profit care.

According to the CBC, “the report […] lists many potential negative consequences if there were to be more access to private health care in Canada, including greater income inequality, more people in dire financial straits, and even doctors encouraging longer wait times in the public system in order to nudge patients into the private system.”

More health care cuts planned

Despite a change in government, Ottawa is still planning to slash annual health transfer increases to the provinces by half next year. That will take $1.1 billion out of the health care system in the first year alone.

“After promising Canadians that they would invest billions more in health care, the Liberals are instead going ahead with Conservative cuts to health transfers,” said NDP Health Critic Don Davies.

These cuts will mean longer-wait times, less doctors and nurses, and ultimately open the door further to efforts by powerful interests to privatize Canada’s health care system.

Take action to defend public health care

New Democrats are leading the fight to defend our public health care system from more privatization and cuts—will you stand with us? Add your name to send a strong message today: