Medicare leadership needed

Medicare is in danger. When the Health Accord expires March 31, Ottawa is downloading important decisions to the provinces and territories.

This is the legal agreement that commits leaders to the Canada Health Act, its goals and responsibilities.

It is currently supported with a 6% funding increase per year.

Along with reductions in equalization transfers, the funding stands to be heavily reduced over the next several years.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not discuss primary care, long-term care, cost-effective pharmaceutical strategies and more.

Harper is opting out of participating at the table. Now, in seniors' hours of need, will Medicare be dismantled? Studies show that the elderly prefer to stay in their homes, with a provision of suitable care. We know now the cost for delivery is much lower than the long term cost of care in care homes.

Without federal participation and commitment, who will ensure the best, most cost-effective strategies?

The restructuring is expected to result in about 14 different health care systems, in a society that is increasingly mobile. Do we need different costs for similar services and medicines, depending on where we work or play? More needy people shifting between systems and provinces? Do we need more bureaucracy and confusion? How will this impact the Canadian economy?

No doubt such major changes in Health Care would drive the thrust to privatization.

Ask you local leaders to urge our Prime Minister to come to the table and talk with health care and community leaders. We need collaboration to extend the Health Accord to allow fair medical care now and tomorrow.

Carla Evans

New Westminster

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