Residential care and Medical Service Plan fees, hikes, and the introduction of convalescent care fees have added to the financial burden of seniors.
In many respects we are back at the beginning when Tommy Douglas began the campaign against privatization and had the vision to make health care a public service for all, regardless of their income. It is time to revisit the original principles of the Canada Health Act.
In September 2004 the federal Liberal government announced a 10-year action plan on health. This accord expires in two years, and one has to ask what has been accomplished. The action plan was based on principles of universality, accessibility, portability, comprehensiveness, and public administration. It promised access to medically necessary health services when they are needed, based on need, not ability to pay.
From my vantage point as a retired person, I would have to say not much, if anything, has improved. We have federal and provincial governments that have been silent on the encroachment of privatization in health care.
Assisted living and residential care has been delivered to the private, for-profit sector in a disproportionate ratio to publicly funded models of care, which has left many seniors and disabled unable to afford care.
Provincial health ministers and Leonna Aglukkaq, minister of health for Canada, meet in Victoria Jan. 16-17, 2012 to continue their discussion of the 2014 Health Care Accord. Health-care advocates will also gather to make their point that the health-care system under discussion belongs to the citizens of Canada.
It is important that all citizens begin now to inform themselves of the issues and join their voices with other advocates about what the future of health care in Canada should and can be. We need to do this for ourselves, but more importantly for future generations.
Let us not disappoint.
Chair of the Seniors Advisory Council of Williams Lake and Area