Canadians have a deep and abiding commitment to the Canada Health Act and to the principle of a universal, single-tier, health care system built on core values of equity, fairness, and solidarity. People living in vibrant communities have access to a spectrum of high-quality, client-centred health care services based on need rather than ability to pay. This includes expanding Medicare to include coverage of pharmaceuticals and home care. But that is only part of the story. Tommy Douglas’s vision of Medicare included moving to a second stage focused on prevention and keeping people well. This means addressing the social, environmental and other factors that affect the health of Canadians.
In difficult economic times we are reminded why Canadians cherish their publicly funded, not for-profit health care system. Indeed, 86 per cent of Canadians support not-for-profit solutions to strengthen Canada’s universal health-care system. Canadians, and Ontarians, have made it very
clear that they value, support and rely on our publicly funded health-care system and they look to our political and health-care leaders to commit to defending and enhancing it. In contrast to the United States where unpaid medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy, essential health services in Canada are part of the cost-efficient, single-payer system that offers universal access to health care that would otherwise be unavailable to many people with low and moderate incomes
The health-care system must constantly evolve to meet the changing needs of an aging population, such as ensuring equitable access to home care and medications. Also of critical importance, Tommy Douglas’s original vision of Medicare included prevention and confronting the social, environmental and
other factors that make people unwell in the first place.