Friday 24 May 2013

Privatization Threatens Canadian Medicare

Raging Grannies
The Ontario Health Coalition held an emergency summit in Ottawa on hospital cuts and privatization on May 22, 2013. Its gravity was expressed as follows as some 70 people watched and listened:

'Ottawa is Ground Zero for hospital privatization in Ontario. The Ottawa Hospital is facing among the harshest heath service cuts of anywhere in the province. Thousands of surgeries and hospital procedures are being offloaded, cut and privatized to for-profit clinics (day hospitals). The privatization of clinical hospital care is unprecedented. It threatens the start of for-profit hospitals. It must be stopped.'

Speaker Maude Barlow of The Council of Canadians pointed out that every person has the human right for health care. She urged Canadians to fight privatization. In closing, she paid tribute to Tommy Douglas (1904-1986), the recognized father of socialized medicine in Canada who also paved the way for bargaining rights for civil servants.

Michael McBane, National Director, Canadian Health Coalition, cited peer-reviewed evidence to show how private for-profit delivery of health services is inferior to public not-for-profit delivery. The ten critical items are as follows:
  1. Higher costs.
  2. Higher death rates.
  3. More serious deficiencies in staffing and resources.
  4. Marketing of inappropriate services.
  5. Conflict of financial interest.
  6. Longer wait times for those who can't afford to queue jump.
  7. Cherry-picking to shift cost, risk and liability to public system.
  8. Opportunities for fraud.
  9. Breaking the law against extra-billing and queue-jumping.
  10. Opening up health care to international trade agreements.
  11. For-profit health care is an attack on democracy. (Added by member in the audience) 
The last speaker, Natalie Mehra, Director, Ontario Health Coalition, explained how the proposed 2-tiered system as advocated by the provincial and federal governments is having a negative effect on many aspects of health care, such as seniors. She ended by saying: 'These are human decisions that can be changed, as Noam Chomsky used to say.'

The Ottawa Raging Grannies were on hand at the entrance to the meeting hall with singing and a sign. One of their three numbers ended with: 'Get sick, you'll make somebody richer. It's for-profit health care now!'

Another song was a challenge to the politicians

Politicians, give back our Medicare
It's time the best thing Canadians get to share!!
Just tackle the two-tier question,
It gives us indigestion.
You want our vote — just take this note:
Give back our Medicare.

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