Canada’s health care crisis is a ballot box issue says CMA

Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | September 12, 2019

Three in five Canadians will vote for the party with the best health care plan, according to the Canadian Medical Association.

Canada’s doctors are urging federal political parties to commit to a stronger role in health or risk losing votes in the upcoming election. Three in five Canadians say they will cast their ballot for the party with the most comprehensive health care plan, according to a poll conducted by Ipsos in collaboration with the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).

In a new policy platform, CMA President Dr. Sandy Buchman warns that Canada’s health system is in crisis. The platform cites “urgent concerns” about shortages of health professionals, long wait times, cuts to health services and a lack of support for caregivers.

“Too many Canadians are falling through the cracks, and physicians and other health professionals are stretched to the breaking point trying to fill gaps,” according to Buchman.

The organization is calling for federal action in six areas: access to care, seniors care, virtual care, pharmacare, youth mental health and climate change.

Fifty-two percent of Canadians polled by CMA rate government efforts to ensure timely access to care and medications as poor or very poor, and 58% believe they will need to delay retirement to afford care. Nearly three-quarters believe Canada has been slow to adopt virtual care. And doctors report they are already treating the health effects of climate change, from new infectious diseases to respiratory problems caused by wildfires. 

The CMA is urging federal parties to commit to creating a $1.2-billion primary health care transition fund, top up the Canada Health Transfers to provinces based on their proportion of seniors, establish national licensure of physicians to enable virtual care, implement national pharmacare, provide long-term funding for youth mental health services, and undertake a comprehensive plan to meet climate change targets.

CMA is also inviting physicians and patients to get involved through the organization’s new Advocacy Caucus and CMA Health Advocate platform, respectively.

Photo credit: iStock.com/bizoo_n


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