Essential frontline workers need support for public health care, says Canadian Health Coalition
The Canadian Health Coalition is calling on parties, candidates, and voters to commit to strengthening Canada’s public health care system with increased funding, a national pharmacare program, national standards for long-term care, a move away from for-profit providers, and eliminating systemic racism.
The Canadian Health Coalition comprises national workers’ organizations and citizen organizations dedicated to protecting and improving public health care.
“Frontline health workers, who are essential to protect lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, want system-wide changes to repair years of neglect for our cherished public health care system,” said Chairperson Pauline Worsfold, RN.
“Provinces cannot do this alone,” she added. “The federal government has an essential role in making the changes that are needed so urgently.”
- Increase funding. The Canadian Health Coalition supports substantial increases to the Canada Health Transfer, contingent upon the provinces and territories using the funds for health care, and respecting the five principles of the Canada Health Act (1984): universality, portability, accessibility, comprehensiveness, and public administration.
- Implement pharmacare. Public health will be improved through universal and public drug coverage. Just as essential vaccines have been provided free of charge, pharmacare will prevent and treat disease, while lowering costs for families, employers, and governments.
- Improve long-term care. The pandemic has exposed our long-term care system’s flaws at a terrible cost in lives. Federal legislation should make long-term care part of the public health care system. Increased federal funding must be contingent upon provinces and territories using the funds for long-term care, and meeting enforceable national standards.
- Remove profit. A public health care system, well-funded and publicly administered, provides the fairest, highest quality, and most cost-effective care. Private, for-profit investors must not be allowed to undermine our public health care system. There should be no place for profit in health care, whether through private clinics, paid blood plasma collection, corporate-delivered virtual health care, or long-term care facilities.
- Eliminate racism. The pandemic has exposed inequities in our health care system. Frontline health workers, especially those from marginalized and racialized groups of people, must be included in efforts to eliminate systemic racism and other barriers to care.
“We will be engaging our members, the candidates, and parties for clear commitments during this federal campaign,” said Worsfold. “After election day, we need MPs who are dedicated to a strong and expanded public health care system.”
The Canadian Health Coalition, a public advocacy organization founded in 1979, is based in Ottawa.