Main Category: Medicare / Medicaid / SCHIP
Article Date: 29 Apr 2011 – 10:00 PDT
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Stephen Harper’s decision to refuse even the most basic commitment to Medicare has caused surprise and concern among Canadians who care about our health care system. Hundreds of local candidates representing the Liberal, New Democratic and Green Parties, and all three of their National Leaders, have given their support to the Health Care Protection Pledge, a commitment to sustain Medicare past the 2014 Health Accord negotiations. Stephen Harper is the only national leader who has chosen not to express support for our health care system, and all but two Conservative candidates have followed his lead, almost universally refusing to make a commitment to Medicare.
The Health Care Protection Pledge, put forward by the physicians’ group Canadian Doctors for Medicare, asked candidates to make a simple promise: enforce the current health care laws and sustain at least some health care transfer payment to provinces. “We deliberately set the bar low, seeking only the most basic assurances about our health care system” said Dr. Danielle Martin, Chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. “We are very disappointed to see the Conservatives decline even this minimal commitment.”
The Pledge was circulated to all campaign offices and Party Headquarters earlier in the election period. Staff at Canadian Doctors for Medicare reached out to the candidates and their leaders to confirm commitments. Canadian Doctors for Medicare contacted Conservative Campaign Headquarters repeatedly, speaking with staff about the Pledge, responding to their requests for additional information and continuing to seek a commitment. Every Conservative campaign office, from coast to coast to coast, was also contacted, repeatedly, by phone and email, pursuing support for our health care system. Sadly, only two Conservative in Canada chose to make the Pledge and no commitment could be obtained from Stephen Harper. In contrast, candidates from other parties were eager to express support, faxing and emailing Pledges from across the country, working around power outages and internet failures to make sure their Pledges were received.
“It’s been invigorating to see the enthusiasm for our health care system from the candidates and their leaders”, Dr. Martin added, “But we’re sorry to see our hopes for universal commitment to our heath care system won’t be achieved in this election.”
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