BC Health Coalition

BC Health Coalition

January 20, 2016 12:30 ET

Health Care Advocates Welcome Ministers With Hopes for Renewed Public Health Care

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Jan. 20, 2016) - The BC Health Coalition joined a broad group of health organizations to welcome the country's health ministers as they begin talks in Vancouver today.

"This meeting marks an historic opportunity to get public health care back on track," says Edith MacHattie, BC Health Coalition co-chair. "It's a chance for the provinces and territories to begin planning for a new health accord, a national strategy for seniors care, and a national public drug plan."

The previous Conservative government refused to negotiate a new accord with the provinces, and introduced major funding cuts. This allowed privatization to thrive, wait lists to grow, and patchwork care to flourish across the country.

"We are encouraged by the new federal government's commitment to a new health accord, and support the provinces' position that the federal government's share of health funding needs to be restored to at least 25%," says MacHattie.

Advocates argue that the new health accord needs to include plans for a national drug plan to address sky-high drug costs. Canadians pay some of the highest drug prices in the world and as many as one in ten people in Canada can't afford to fill their prescriptions.

A national seniors care strategy to support an aging population with access to high quality public hospital, home, facility based long-term, palliative and hospice care is also a priority.

"When we established Medicare over 50 years ago, the average age of a Canadian was 27, and most didn't live beyond their 60s. Today, we can expect to live into our 80s. We need a system that meets the needs of our current population," says MacHattie.

The groups arrived with hundreds of cards containing messages for the ministers from people across Canada about their hopes for health care. The cards are displayed outside the ministers meetings and members of the public are adding to the display over the course of the ministers' meeting.

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