The issue: There have been several issues identified related to Canada’s publicly funded health care system. It should be accessible to all Canadians, yet access to services remains a barrier for many. The health impacts of climate change are likely to worsen, creating an increased burden on the system. The universal health care plan is lacking in coverage for important services, including prescription drugs, dental care, and mental health, excluding people who need these services the most from accessing them. Furthermore, the current system fails to meet the needs of our increasing aging population.
Why it matters:
- People living in poverty have poorer health outcomes, including increased chronic illness and poor mental health. Income is also a determinant of additional social factors including those explored above. Poverty itself, and the factors it subsequently affects, generate high health care costs.
- There are long wait lists for many health care services, requiring an investment in hospitals, staff, and the expansion of public health care services, especially in the areas of mental health, long term, home, and primary care.
- Canada’s population is aging and families are having a harder time caring for their loved ones at home. This requires greater investment in more long-term care facilities so Canadians can age with dignity.
- Canada is in the midst of an opioid crisis and thousands of Canadians are dying every year.
- Every Canadian should have access to fundamental health care services, regardless of income. This includes “head to toe” services such as prescription drugs, mental health, addictions, and dental care.
Role of the federal government: The roles and responsibilities for Canada’s publicly funded health care system are shared between the federal and provincial / territorial governments. Most health care services are delivered by provincial governments, but the federal government provides services to some groups, such as First Nations people living on reserves. The federal government also regulates some products such as food and pharmaceuticals.
Ask your candidates:
- How do you plan to support people’s health by improving conditions where they live, learn, work and play?
- Does your party support increasing funds to ensure high quality, universal health care and public health services?
- Do you have a plan to increase access to mental health and addictions, long term and home care services?
- What is your party’s plan to address the opioid crisis?
- Does your party support expanding public health care to include other services, such as dental care?
- Does your party support a national, public pharmacare program?