Thursday, November 15, 2012
Stephen Harper's Stealth Attack on Medicare
Oh boy. Trying to keep up with Stephen Harper these days is like trying to keep up with a pickpocket working a crowded railway station.
Or a pimp working a Republican convention.
One moment he's selling us out to the Chinese Communist Capitalist Party. The next moment he's preparing to sell us out to the Europeans and Big Pharma.
As free trade talks with the European Union reach the endgame, Ottawa is signalling it is prepared to give the Europeans at least part of what they asked for on drug patents — a move that could cost Canadians up to $900 million a year.
Even though there's nothing in it for Canadians. Even though there are too many poor seniors in this country having to choose between their medication or their food.
Even though it's nothing but a shameless cave-in.
Canada currently pays 15 to 20 per cent more than the international average for new brand name drugs as part of a deal negotiated by Brian Mulroney’s government in the 1980s. In exchange for this form of price fixing, big pharma promised to invest 10 per cent of research and development-to-sales in Canada.
The industry broke this promise and now invests only 5.6 per cent of research and development-to-sales, the lowest rate of research and development investment from the pharmaceutical industry since 1988. France and the U.K. have a research and development-to-sales ratio that is more than twice that of Canada and their prices are at least 10 per cent lower.
To make matters worse, the drug industry uses this money, not for innovation, but to buy influence with the federal regulator, physicians, consumers and the media through their advertising departments. Is there a word for “being bribed with your own money”?
A shameless surrender to foreign corporations, that will only make it harder for our healthcare system to deal with the increasing demands of our aging population.
But of course Stephen Harper doesn't care about that, because he entered politics as the poster boy of the National Citizens Coalition that was founded to destroy medicare.
And his plan to destroy medicare is by making the provinces too poor to afford it.
That's why he is cutting healthcare transfers by $36 billion, that's why he is refusing to create any national health programs, that's even the real reason he is sending more prisoners to jail. So the provinces will have to pay more to feed and house them.
It's his stealth attack on medicare. And although most Canadians are blissfully unaware of this sinister plan, the Healthcare for Bucks lobby can smell the blood in the air, and all kinds of new organizations are circling Parliament Hill like vultures.
Like this one.
Founded by Brent J. Skinner, who for the last eight years was the Director of Health Policy Research at the Fraser Institute.
Which like all other similar organizations, and their flunkies in the MSM, would have us believe that medicare costs are out of control, and privatization inevitable. When the truth is quite different.
Total health-care costs as a share of the economy did rise when the economy tanked in 2008-9 but they have been falling for two years. For the past two years, provincial government health costs have also fallen as a share of GDP and as a share of their overall spending. Far from hitting the forecast 70 per cent, or even 50 per cent of program expenditures, provincial health costs are less than 38 per cent of program spending and falling.
But will Canadians realize what the Cons are secretly up to, and will they unite to stop them before it's too late?
Oh boy. I hope so.
For if they don't, they really will wake up one day in a horrible place. In terrible pain.
In a country they don't recognize...
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