Special Alert: Cuts to refugee health care hurt us all

Special Alert: Cuts to refugee health care hurt us all 

Read our Special Edition newsletter on this issue

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The federal government recently announced it would be changing the Interim Federal Health Program to cut most health care benefits for refugees. This includes pharmaceutical care, but also cuts basic primary health care for many classes of refugees. In some cases, refugees will only receive basic emergency response or medicine where a public health concern is identified. The impacts could range from diabetics not getting their insulin, to children not receiving immunizations, to letting people succumb to heart attacks.

 

Click here to view a summary of the changes to the Interim Federal Health Program.

Learn more at http://www.doctorsforrefugeecare.ca


Canadian Doctors for Medicare believes that the federal government shouldn’t be reducing access to health care for refugees, it should be increasing care for all Canadians. And it shouldn’t forcing doctors to choose between their professional obligations to treat ill and injured people. On June 18th, we’re joining with fellow doctors, health professionals and concerned citizens to mobilize across the country and protest these cuts.

 

Watch 90 doctors take action at MP Joe Oliver’s office http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiNDtUaNudk

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Click here to read more about the day of action, and how you can get involved in your community http://www.doctorsforrefugeecare.ca/day-of-action-june-18.html

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and the federal government made these changes with the argument that some Canadians don’t have coverage for things like dental care and pharmaceutical care, and so we shouldn’t be giving coverage to refugees.

Minister Kenney wrote in response to a concerned physician that “bogus asylum seekers, including those whose claims have been formally rejected, will no longer receive, at taxpayer expense, enhanced health services such as eye and dental coverage that are unavailable to many ordinary Canadians.”

 

Read why doctors are concerned about these cuts

http://www.canada.com/life/Cuts+refugee+health+insurance+dangerous+doctors/6580933/story.html

Click here to read Minister Kenney’s letter in The Ottawa Citizen

 

Canadian Doctors for Medicare believes that the Minister has this issue backwards – we believe he should be more concerned that all Canadians don’t have access to essential care such as pharmaceuticals, not that a small number of refugees do have it. Regardless of the status of a refugee’s claim, we believe Canada is a fair country, where people who come to our shores are treated with compassion, and that includes access to health care.

 

Read the Globe and Mail article featuring CDM student board member Andrew Boozary about the personal impact of these cuts

 

Minister Kenney also said in his letter that doctors should stay away from political issues and stick to their own business – “Doctors serve their patients and the public best when they focus their energy and skills on treating disease based on accurate diagnoses and facts.”

We respectfully disagree. Being a doctor is about treating the patient, not just the disease. And the accurate diagnoses and facts can only occur if we can treat people preventatively as well as in response to illness or injury. Under the new rules, refugees with preventable health issues that could be detected and dealt with early will be left until later when their issues are more expensive and more devastating. Continuing to provide primary health care would be more equitable, and much more cost-effective.

 

Read CDM Board Member Dr. Khati Hendry’s personal experience with refugee populations and her response to these cuts

 

It’s also clear that the federal government’s cuts will result in downloading the issue of refugee health care to provinces, whose emergency departments, community health centres and other community clinics will absorb the costs of serving this population.

Our Medicare system can be measured by the care we provide to the most vulnerable among us. We should continue to provide health care to refugees that come to our shores in hope of a better life, and we urge the federal government to revoke this thoughtless change.

But we can also do better for all Canadians, who should expect more from our federal government, not less. We should be looking to expand Medicare to include coverage of essential care such as pharmaceuticals, and not lower the expectations of Canadians in a race to the bottom of health care.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

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1. Participate in our Day of Action on Monday, June 18th, 2012

2. Sign a petition
 http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-cuts-to-healthcare-for-refugees-in-canada

3. Call or write the Hon. Jason Kenney - Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism - at 613-992-2235 /  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to express your opposition to the federal government's planned cuts to health care services for refugees

 Please copy Canadian Doctors for Medicare ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)  and Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) on your correspondence

SAMPLE LETTER TO MINISTER KENNEY

Dear (Minister Kenney or YOUR CONSERVATIVE MP),

I am deeply concerned about the cuts the federal government is making to the Interim Federal Health Program. I believe that we should providing better health care to all Canadians, including refugees.

These cuts mean that refugees with preventable health issues that could be detected and dealt with early will be left until later when their issues are more expensive and more devastating. Continuing to provide primary health care would be more equitable, and much more cost-effective.

As a country, we should more concerned that all Canadians don’t have access to essential care such as pharmaceuticals, not that a small number of refugees do have it. And regardless of the status of a refugee’s claim, I believe Canada is a fair country, where people who come to our shores are treated with compassion, and that includes access to health care.

I urge you and your government to reconsider these cuts.

Respectfully,

YOUR NAME


We also encourage you to call or write to the following MPs:

Hon. Leona Aglukkaq - Minister of Health at 613-992-2848 /
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

NDP immigration critic - Jinny Jogindera Sims - 613-992-0666 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
NDP health critic - Libby Davies -  613-992-6030 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Liberal Party immigration critic - Kevin Lamoureux - 613-996-6417/ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Liberal Party health critic - Hedy Fry - 613-992-3213 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please be sure to contact your local MP as well. Contact information for all MPs can be found at:
http://www.parl.gc.ca/MembersOfParliament/MainMPsCompleteList.aspx?TimePeriod=Current&Language=E

SAMPLE LETTER TO OPPOSITION MP's

Dear (YOUR MP),

I am deeply concerned about the cuts the federal government is making to the Interim Federal Health Program. I believe that we should providing better health care to all Canadians, including refugees.

These cuts mean that refugees with preventable health issues that could be detected and dealt with early will be left until later when their issues are more expensive and more devastating. Continuing to provide primary health care would be more equitable, and much more cost-effective.

As a country, we should more concerned that all Canadians don’t have access to essential care such as pharmaceuticals, not that a small number of refugees do have it. And regardless of the status of a refugee’s claim, I believe Canada is a fair country, where people who come to our shores are treated with compassion, and that includes access to health care.

I urge you and your party to take action on this issue by raising it in the House of Commons and in the media to ensure that this thoughtless change does not take effect.

Respectfully,

YOUR NAME