Recent polling places health care at the top of the list when voters are asked what issues matter most. And yet the federal government is on track to reduce the rate of increase in health transfers to the provinces starting in 2017, a strategy that would rob the provinces of up to $36 billion over 10 years.
This approach is being taken at a time when our health care system lacks standards, has no national pharmacare program and no strategy to address the needs of an aging population. A National Seniors Strategy would ensure that the current 15 per cent of hospital beds often occupied by seniors no longer needing hospital care, could be made available to other patients waiting for medically necessary procedures and surgeries. A National Seniors Strategy would provide adequate home care, long-term care and end of life care while freeing up this acute care space.
Thus far in this federal election campaign we are not hearing a firm commitment from any candidate to maintain the current level of health transfers and to work with provinces and territories to improve the delivery of services to all Canadians.
I urge voters to call upon candidates to commit to action that will improve Health Care for Canadians both now and well into the future.
National Association of Federal Retirees vice president, South Okanagan Branch