Poor Tommy Douglas. Canada’s visionary for a universal healthcare system might not recognize the health care system he moved mountains to advocate for. In Canada, we wear our access to public health care like badges of honour. Sixty -six years ago Canadians families were on their own to pay doctor and hospital bills. Those with the money got the medical attention they needed, but those without struggled. Some sold their farms, or remortgaged their homes, and still others went without care, suffered, and even died because they didn’t have the money.
The following is an excerpt from the text of a speech delivered by The late Jack Layton, as leader of the Federal NDP in Washington ,in June,2009.
“One of my predecessors as leader of the New Democrats, a man named Tommy Douglas, knew that this was wrong. That this ran counter to the values of Canadians. To correct this injustice Tommy and my party set out a vision in which everyone received the health care they needed regardless of their income. And so, in 1947 in the prairie province of Saskatchewan, Tommy tabled the first piece of legislation that set us on the path to universal health insurance in Canada. And while many take it for granted today, Tommy and his supporters fought a decades-long battle to usher in Canadian medicare.”
The battle is still very much with us. It’s got names like P3 Hospitals, fee for service, privatization clinics, and out-of-pocket expenses. As Canadians, we face a dilemma of protecting what we have, and fear of making waves to upset the applecart. It’s our health we’re talking about here. We value this thing..health care. It is absolutely mandatory to our existence in a safe and democratic country ,Canada. We are an example to the world. We are invoked as champions for the cause of public health care all around the world. Canada’s example is the one to shoot for. Except that the one piece increasingly missing, is a strong public voice. Public discourse on how and where Canadian health care dollars are actually going.
The Ontario Health Coalition has been paying attention, and advocating for our precious health care system for quite some time. The Coalition is represented locally by many people. Folgo Dellavedova is an Algoma representative and member for the Coalition locally. He reminds us of issues like the “serious financial mismanagement of a provincial Liberal government (under Dalton McGuinty) that introduced ‘e-health’ where serious questions were raised about the mismanagement, and exorbitant costs of the entire project. The botched Ornge Ambulance Service, Power Plants, and P3 Hospitals.” shared Folgo Dellavedova. “The provincial government was managing billions of dollars in funds (as brought in through taxes,transfer payments from Federal Government). These examples of financial mismanagement of public money could have prevented the types of cuts we continue to see in services today.”
From a recent Ministry of Health and Long-term Care study, the changes to hospital funding formulas have shown that ‘fee-for-service in 2011 was 0% for medical procedures in hospital. These procedures are now factored ( in 2014),at a 30% increase, finding their way in fees paid directly by patients. The truth is the numbers can be overwhelming to keep track of. Ontario Health Coalition chapters are keeping track of the numbers and the cuts to service as best they can. Information is not always free-flowing when it comes to the political arena, administrative positions in P3 Hospitals,Governance Boards and LHIN’s (Local Health Integrated Networks). “It is unacceptable that Sault Area Hospital is cutting a substantial number of nursing positions at the hospital” shared Folgo. “All this while adding 16 administrative positions. It’s not right. We need to hold the hospital administration accountable for how our local health care dollars are being invested. As citizens, we will continue to see a health care system that is increasingly being jeopardized and compromised. It’s up to us to keep up the pressure on politicians and hospital administrations. We have a right to know how and where monies allocated (for health care) are being spent.”
Northern Health Coalitions including Algoma,Timmins,Sudbury,New Liskeard, are coming together to rally the troops and give voice to the serious cuts planned for our hospitals, as well as hospital and homecare privatization. Northern Ontario Day of Action will be a combined event for northern ontario citizens concerned about our health care system, and the continued cuts to service. Day of Action is Friday,April 17th in Sudbury. Locally, the Coalition is planning the road trip to Sudbury, starting as a car-pool from The Wellington Square Mall at 8:00 m. This is an open invitation to all interested persons, to take part in the most basic of democratic rights, citizen mobilization. The constituency office of Glenn Thibeault,MPP for Sudbury is the destination.
The Ontario Health Coalition has been working with their provincial counterparts all across our country. They advocate, march, plan events, mobilize to affect change and be a voice for a public health care system. There is no way that Tommy Douglas would have liked the model of P3 Hospitals. Nope.
“We need to put a plug in the hole in the dam” shared Folgo Dellavedova “and stop taking health care funding away from the needs of Ontarians. We deserve much better than this.” adding “Ontarians understand and accept that patients should not remain in hospital longer than necessary. But to discharge prematurely, to not have enough nurses to care for patients in hospitals, and inadequate homecare will reap results that put a patient at risk for a return to hospital.” Cuts to service do not bode well for the overall health and well-being of any community. The Ontario Health Coalition invites you to champion the cause of a Medicare System that is inclusive,public,and accountable to its’ citizens.
Join the Rally. From Sault Ste. Marie to Sudbury. Friday,April 17th.
8:00 am at Marketplace Mall (Trunk Rd.) near the McDonalds Restaurant side of parking lot. A car-pool road trip.
Exercise your right. Share your voice. The Ontario Health Coalition is Calling you to Action. Thank goodness they have been paying attention.
Folgo Dellavedova can be reached at 705-949-3008
For information about the Ontario Health Coalition visit http://www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca/