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CMA forum highlights federal government failure on health equity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 13, 2012

 

YELLOWKNIFE, NWT – The keynote presentation at the CMA’s General Council stands in stark contrast to federal government policies that increasingly undermine health equity, say physicians with Canadian Doctors for Medicare.

Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq spoke this morning at the CMA General Council, continuing to distance the federal government from responsibility for health care and a 2014 Health Accord. Aglukkaq’s comments were in dramatic contrast to those of Sir Michael Marmot, author of the seminal Whitehall study that established the critical role of social inequities on health.

“The CMA and Dr. Marmot are adding to the voices that clearly point the way for the federal government to come back to the table on health care,” said Dr. Bob Woollard. “We can’t have equitable care when the federal government has abandoned national standards and walked away from addressing inequities in the 2014 Health Accord.”

Aglukkaq turned away from concerns about the new federal Health Transfer formula that takes funds from the poorest provinces facing the biggest health challenges and gives it to the richest provinces facing the mildest challenges. She ignored recent reductions in health access for some of the most vulnerable, including refugees.

“The CMA recognizes the negative effects of federal government policies, such as recent cuts to refugee health care and health equity research,” said Dr. Vanessa Brcic. “We need the federal government to do the same.”

They were also widely divergent from the position of the CMA itself, which is focusing on health equity as the theme of this General Council. The CMA’s reports to Council this year reinforce the critical role of government leadership to look not only at the causes of ill health, but to create the conditions for all Canadians to be healthier and make better choices about their health and health care.

“Dr. Marmot urged the health care sector to get its house in order, promoting real access to care, cross sectoral work and evidence-based approaches,” said Dr. Ryan Meili, vice-chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. “Canadian Doctors for Medicare invites the Health Minister to play her role in that effort.” 

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Sean Meagher, Executive Director

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