Federal Leadership on Health Care is Long Overdue

A Federal Liberal Perspective

Elderly Man Swimming
Federal Leadership on Health Care is Long Overdue

Canada needs federal leadership to support a sustainable health care system. Yet currently, we lack leadership and commitment at the federal level to prepare our universal health care system for the future. This is one of the reasons I entered politics after leaving Halton Healthcare. Recent remarks by Dr. Chris Simpson, the new President of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), echo my concern about this critical area of public service.

I fully support Dr. Simpson’s call for a full seniors strategy to ensure the best care and service for elderly Canadians. In addition to that priority, I have identified several other areas where federal leadership is needed.

An aging population does not prevent us from delivering care more efficiently.

The federal government should tie provincial transfer payments to clear improvements in primary, home, and community care. Other countries have improved the affordability of care with this approach. An aging population does not prevent us from delivering care more efficiently. Countries with much older populations than Canada, such as Sweden and France, do not have more expensive health systems than ours. Through its research, the Conference Board of Canada has found several ways to reduce the cost of caring for an aging population. In Sweden, for example, pharmacare and extended support services for seniors have been very effective.

There needs to be federal leadership to set quality goals for our health system. The key here is to link those goals to better outcomes. By working together with the provinces and the CMA, the federal government can help to establish the correct goals. Astonishingly, there have been no discussions involving federal, provincial and territorial leaders on this topic since 2006.

The Canadian premiers’ Health Care Innovation Working Group and the CMA are currently assessing team-based care as a way to improve the suitability of care. Evidence suggests that when patients do not receive the care that is best suited to their needs, their care costs us more. The federal government should support this important initiative that could improve health care delivery across the country.

Finally, along with a seniors care strategy, the government should actively support the Mental Health Strategy developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada. All levels of government need to adopt the six strategic goals identified in this plan. Again, co-operation between the federal, provincial and territorial leaders offers the best chance for success with this strategy.

Without focused and passionate federal leadership guiding our great Canadian health care model, the system is at risk of becoming obsolete, too costly, and ineffective in caring for Canadians. There will be more demand for privatization and enhanced services for those who can afford it, leading to a two-tiered system.

Please Note: Conservative MP for Oakville, Terence Young was asked on Sunday, October 4, 2014 for the conservative perspective on Health Care, when this article went live OakvilleNews.Org had not  received a response from Mr. Young’s office.

OakvilleNews.Org does not support or opposed any particular political perspective. 


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