MP Report: Federal Government Must Commit to Medicare

Medicare is at the heart of who we are and what we are as Canadians.

It was started in Saskatchewan under the CCF and the NDP by Tommy Douglas and extended across Canada in the 1960's. Right from the start, one of the keys was Federal cost sharing. Initially, the Federal government cost shared 50 per cent of the costs. It is now barely 20 per cent.

That is why it was a shock to the provinces when Finance Minister Flaherty unilaterally declared a new formula for health care funding.  The formula will significantly reduce the additional funding that will be available to the provinces in comparison to the current formula.

The government has also turned their backs on much needed health care accountability.  It’s the federal government’s job to work with the provinces to ensure Canadian families have access to universal, quality health care services—no matter where they live. The Harper government needs to be working with the provinces to improve frontline services. Instead it is backing away from its responsibilities. 

The government needs to work with the provinces to deliver on the priorities of Canadians. This government likes to talk about accountability, but it has no plan.  How will it ensure federal funding leads to more doctors and nurses, better home care and more affordable prescription drugs?

Our caucus has called for the federal government to play a leadership role in helping provinces hire more doctors and nurses, while reducing wait times and ensuring access to affordable prescription drugs and home care with dignity.

It is time to re-commit to Medicare.