Friday, February 21, 2014
Stephen Harper and the Con War on Medicare
He has waited a long time to make his move. From the day he was first elected with the support of a group that was founded to kill medicare.
He had to restrain himself for so many years. But it was always going to be the biggest, bloodiest, and most prized trophy in his skull rack.
The one that told him the Canada he hated so much was dead at last.
And now the Con War on Medicare has finally begun.
Federal transfer payments to provinces were first used in order to establish national standards in health care delivery across Canada. On Tuesday, February 11th, Prime Minister Harper turned this on its head by tabling a budget that will use federal transfers in order to eliminate national standards in health care.
Buried on page 279 of the 2014 federal budget is a measure that will make it next to impossible for provinces to provide health care services on equal terms and conditions. The purpose of this budget item is to strike a blow to the heart and soul of universal health care in Canada.
The Cons are killing the equalization provisions of the Canada Health Transfer, which will penalize the poorer provinces, especially those with aging populations.
Even though the architects of medicare warned that without equalization the system would not work.
They are also preparing to slash the amount of money they give the provinces even though the federal contribution has never been lower.
This regressive budgetary change will be matched with a second regressive measure. Beginning in 2017, the six percent annual increase for the health transfer will be replaced with a formula that links the health transfer to economic growth.
This means that in times of high unemployment and economic downturn – when Canadians need access to care the most – the federal transfer will be reduced. This measure alone will result in a $36 billion cut in federal funding for health care over the next decade.
They are gutting the Canada Health Act just like Stephen Harper vowed to do so long ago.
The shrinking level of federal funding for health care will be matched by a withdrawal of federal enforcement of national standards contained in the Canada Health Act. The use of the spending power to establish national standards is common in all OECD federations.
National Medicare will clearly not survive this ‘cut and run’ course being set by the Harper government. Instead, it will fragment into 14 separate pieces where access to essential care will depend on where you live and your ability to pay.
It really is a plan to kill medicare by slowly strangling it, making the provinces too poor to afford it, and forcing them to privatize some or all of it.
And the scary part is that most Canadians have no idea what is really going on.
So I started making a video tonight to express how I feel about that, and here's my first draft, which is a little rough and noisy, to wakeup those still sleeping.
And warn those who still don't get it.
Where the monster would take us...
And of course to encourage everybody to RESIST.
For this is the question:
How much pain and suffering will Canadian voters let the Harper government inflict on the sick, the frail elderly, veterans and pensioners?
This is true:
The one big thing that stands in the way of Harper’s plan to slowly strangle Medicare is the people of Canada.
And so is this:
Or we will drive Stephen Harper and his foul Con regime from power as soon as is humanly possible.
Or we really will wake up one day, poor, sick, and vulnerable.
In a nightmare place, in a place of pain.
In a country we don't recognize...
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