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Shelve Castonguay, support medicare, says CUPE

Report on the Canada Health Act ignores already significant inroads into private health care.

A report by Claude Castonguay called for more private health care.by CUPE

February 20, 2008 06:30 PM A Québec government-sponsored report calling for radical privatization of the health care system came out this week just as the federal government proved once again that they're not willing to enforce their own laws on public health care.

The Castonguay report's recommendations read like a laundry list for privatized health care.

- letting doctors double dip - work in both the public and private systems

- a cap on public health spending

- market-based funding, which stamps a price tag on patients

- forcing hospitals to compete rather than collaborate

- letting for-profit companies manage hospitals

- inviting more for-profit health insurance

- cutting services, starting with hospital meals

- annual fees and deductibles for necessary health services

- another round of restructuring that will destabilize the health care system

- weakening the Canada Health Act.

In rejecting Claude Castonguay's more radical recommendations, Québec Health Minister Philippe Couillard emerges as a moderate force, argued Paul Moist, CUPE National President, even as his government has moved more in the direction of private health care than any of its predecessors.

Moist noted that this week's release of the report on the Canada Health Act ignores Québec's already significant inroads into private health care as well as those of BC and other provinces.

"We see private MRI clinics allowing people to jump the queue. We see the reappearance of private health insurance and for-profit surgical clinics. We see for- profit hospitals - the biggest privatized hospitals in the world. And the list goes on - while in Ottawa we see no action," Moist said.

"Health Minister Tony Clement's inactions speak louder than his weasel words," Moist said.

Moist called on the minister to publicly reject Castonguay task force recommendations that are incompatible with the Canada Health Act, and to demand the same of the Quebec government.

CUPE's health care workers are always open to improving the system, but not on the backs of the sick or of those who heal them.

CUPE and other supporters of the public health care system launched yourmedicarerights.ca last month to give Canadians a place to go to enforce their rights under medicare and to encourage federal politicians to stand up for the Canada Health Act.

Links and sources
  Canadian Union of Public Employees

Posted: March 06, 2008

Categories:
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  Health care
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  Voices of privatization

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