Pass Dental Benefit Act and commit $3.5-B for pharmacare in Budget 2023, urges Health Coalition
The Canadian Health Coalition lead off the government’s Pre-Budget 2023 Consultations last week urging the Liberals to deliver on health care spending promises made in the Liberal-NDP Agreement.
“Already, we are seeing the gains from parliamentary cooperation with Bill C-31 and the Dental Benefit Act, which it is estimated that 500,000 Canadian children will benefit from this targeted investment,” the Health Coalition told Members of Parliament in its presentation to the all-party House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance – FINA.
The Canadian Health Coalition made six recommendations in its oral and written submission:
Recommendation 1. That the government passes Bill C-31, which includes the Dental Benefit Act, and transforms the benefit into a robust program for everyone in Canada, with universal coverage, as soon as possible.
Recommendation 2. That the government moves forward with the Canada Pharmacare Act by 2023 to provide free coverage for prescribed medicines, funded with $3.5-billion for essential medicines as recommended by the 2019 government-appointed Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare.
Recommendation 3. That the government increases investments to end the health care human resources crisis, beginning by delivering on the governing party’s 2021 election promises to provide $3.2-billion to the provinces and territories for the hiring of 7,500 new family doctors, nurses, and nurse practitioners. In addition, as promised, train up to 50,000 new personal support workers and fund their guaranteed minimum wage of at least $25 per hour.
Recommendation 4. That the government introduces and passes the Safe Long-Term Care Act by 2025, which must enforce national standards as well as ensure patients receive at least 4 hours of direct care daily. Additionally, provide funding to promote publicly-owned, and non-profit long-term care facilities while phasing out for-profit investors.
Recommendation 5. That the federal government works with the provinces and territories to increase federal funding through the Canada Health Transfer that is accountable while improving outcomes for people in Canada through new public health care programs such as public dental care and universal pharmacare.
Recommendation 6. That the government speaks out in favour of public health care strenuously and enforces the 5 principles and conditions of the Canada Health Act, beginning with funding more robust monitoring and sanctioning capacity by Health Canada to ensure Canadians are not faced with extra billing, user fees, and diminished accessibility to health care as provinces move to for-profit care providers.
Each year, the Standing Committee on Finance invites dozens of witnesses to present their recommendations for the federal budget. The Canadian Health Coalition was the first witness called to make a presentation for Budget 2023.
Many other coalition members will make presentations and written submissions, including the Canadian Labour Congress, CUPE, Unifor, and the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.
- Read the Written Submission for the Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the Upcoming Federal Budget 2023 by the Canadian Health Coalition, October 8, 2022.