Monday, May 05, 2008

MLA Coons issues Health care privatization warnings


1. to support, hold, or bear up from below; bear the weight of, as a structure.

2. to bear (a burden, charge, etc.).

3. to undergo, experience, or suffer (injury, loss, etc.); endure without giving way or yielding.

4. to keep (a person, the mind, the spirits, etc.) from giving way, as under trial or affliction.

5. to keep up or keep going, as an action or process: to sustain a conversation.

6. to supply with food, drink, and other necessities of life.

7. to provide for (an institution or the like) by furnishing means or funds.

8. to support (a cause or the like) by aid or approval.

9. to uphold as valid, just, or correct, as a claim or the person making it: The judge sustained the lawyer's objection.

10. to confirm or corroborate, as a statement: Further investigation sustained my suspicions.

All of the above describe the concept of sustainability, a word that is at the root of Gary Coon's concerns over health care in BC, it's a word which can mean many things to many people and for the NDP MLA it's the giant unknown in the current health care debate over the introduction of the Medicare Protection Amendment.

Bill 21 has the North coast MLA concerned that the provincial government is laying the groundwork for potential further privatization of the health system in the province.

He is expressing his hesitation about the pending legislation as he believes it is too vague and advances a myth that the cost of health care is spiralling. Coons is suggesting that the government is more inclined to serve the private interests of the health care industry as opposed to the needs of the provinces residents and patients under the system.

He outlined his thoughts in an article in Friday's Daily News.

Coons sounds privatization alarm
By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Friday, May 02, 2008

Page one

North Coast MLA Gary Coons is concerned that a new bill being read in the legislature is the first step toward greater privatization of healthcare in British Columbia.

Bill 21, the Medicare Protection Amendment, adds the principle of 'sustainability' to the act, the exact purpose of which the MLA is unsure.

"It isn't as though just by slapping the term 'sustainable' on our medical system, costs will magically decrease," said Coons. "I do not believe it's unreasonable to ask the Minister of Health what the point of this legislation is. It does nothing to improve health care."

Coons is opposed to the bill because he believes it is vague and that its primary purpose appears to be advancing the myth that healthcare costs are spiralling out of control.

"Let's look at sustainability and what isn't sustainable in this province. This government has put forth the premise that our health care is not sustainable. Perhaps, we need to look at things that are really not sustainable," said Coons. "We have a government that is basically chained to corporate interests rather than to the people they serve, and I find that not sustainable."

Coons is concerned about what he sees as members of the government using distorted numbers to perpetuate the idea that health spending is unsustainable. And he points to earlier claims by the Liberals that health care would eat 71 per cent of provincial revenues by 2017, hazarding a guess that members of the government are not of the opinion that current health spending is sustainable. Coons said that when most peer-reviewed studies of healthcare in Canada and internationally show that public systems are more sustainable than private ones, the provincial government is clearly overlooking the facts.

"The truth is that healthcare costs have remained fairly steady over the last decade, and will continue to remain affordable well into the future," he said. "At the very best, this legislation is useless. At the very worst it's a foundation for changes that will make healthcare cost more for British Columbians. We already have a sustainable system; it would be nice if this government turned towards fixing gaps in healthcare instead of pushing buzzwords and myths."

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