B.C.’s largest federation of seniors has called on the federal, provincial and territorial governments to negotiate “a new comprehensive health accord that protects, transforms and strengthens our national health care system.”
At a recent special meeting held in Vancouver – 11 days after the expiry of the national health accord – about 100 seniors unanimously adopted a declaration that quality health care must be available to every resident of Canada without discrimination, and regardless of ability to pay.
“All levels of government have a role to play in the delivery of quality and accessible health care,” said Lorraine Logan, President of the 107,000 member Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of B.C. (COSCO).
“To ensure Medicare is not fragmented, Ottawa must provide coordination, foster innovation, and provide financial support at a level that secures the integrity of the 1984 Canada Health Act,” she said.
Michael McBane of the Canadian Health Coalition said the federal government has launched a “stealth attack” on Medicare, with reductions in funding scheduled for future years.
“We need a national debate, a national conversation on the future of Medicare,” said McBane, adding that the withdrawal of federal leadership will lead to a fragmentation of service.
Wendell Potter, former head of communications at a large health insurance company in the USA, said he walked away from his job when he realized private corporations were not improving access, were not improving quality of care, and looked on health care as a major profit centre.
He called on Canadians to carefully examine the misleading language used by those who promote privatization.
Seniors at the meeting expressed outrage that the federal government has refused to negotiate a new health accord, effectively ending Medicare as a national program.