SooToday.com has received the following open letter to MP Bryan Hayes from the Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma Senior Health Advisory Committee (SHAC). SHAC is very concerned that the National Health Accord will expire on March 31, 2014, and our federal government has chosen not to renew this important federal-provincial agreement.
Dear Mr. Hayes,
This letter is from the Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma Seniors Health Advisory Committee (SHAC).
The purpose of our committee is to determine and address seniors’ health issues in the district of Algoma by lobbying, educating, and supporting initiatives for seniors.
On March 31, 2014, the National Health Accord will expire.
The federal government has chosen not to renegotiate this important health agreement.
For the last ten years the Health Accord has performed the vital role of providing stable funding and promoting national standards in health care so that all Canadians can expect the same access to health care no matter who they are or where they reside in this country.
That will end on March 31, 2014.
While the provinces and territories have called upon the federal government to meet with them to work on a new Health Accord, their efforts have been unsuccessful.
Federal leadership is necessary to secure public health care for all, from infants to seniors.
Canada needs a Health Accord.
Without it health services will become fragmented.
Access to care will increasingly depend on where one lives.
Without a Health Accord the federal government will not have the means to ensure provinces are complying with the principles of the Canada Health Act: public administration, universal access, comprehensive coverage, accessibility without extra charges or discrimination and portability.
Without a Health Accord provincial governments will have free rein to spend health care money as they choose, resulting in a patchwork system of health services across the country.
And the massive cuts of $36 billion in federal health care transfers over the next ten years will unfortunately lead to the privatization of health care services that all Canadians and particularly seniors depend upon.
In 2014 Ontario will suffer through a federal health care funding shortfall of about $650 million.
This will have drastic repercussions on healthcare services in Ontario.
Already Ontario is experiencing severe hospital overcrowding, a shortage of long-term care beds, cuts to registered nursing positions, insufficient home care services, etc.
Canada has an aging population and access to health care services is paramount.
In the Algoma District 25 percent of the population are over 60.
We need the federal government to strengthen our public health care system, not dismantle it.
We ask that the federal government act to negotiate a plan with the provinces and territories to meet the health care needs of all Canadians.
Our organization is a member of the Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens that represents approximately 160 organizations across the province with approximately 500,000 members.
The Coalition is in full support of the request and will be contacting members across the province to reinforce this request.
We know that the senior population is escalating in leaps and bounds and we are very worried, as we mentioned previously, that cuts to federal health care funding will have drastic repercussions not only for Ontario but for the whole country.
Please renegotiate Canada’s Health Accord.
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