WINNIPEG, MB - TREATY 1 TERRITORY AND HOMELAND OF THE RED RIVER METIS - The Manitoba Health Coalition (MHC) congratulated the governments of Canada and Manitoba for reaching agreement on health care funding, but warned that much work remains in order to protect Manitoba families from the risk of for-profit health care.

“Several of the priorities identified in this agreement are critical to addressing the needs of Manitoba’s health care system which has been devastated by cuts, chaos and privatization,” said Thomas Linner, Provincial Director of the Manitoba Health Coalition. “We need to ensure that the funding provided to the Manitoba government through the Canada Health Transfer is used to support public health care, not corporate profits and poaching frontline staff from the public system to private entities.”

The growing threat of American-style, two-tier health care is a major reason why public health care advocates like the MHC want strings attached to federal funding - to ensure public dollars go to public care. Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos has recently stated that he wants to close for-profit care loopholes. The MHC encourages him and his government to insist on these principles as the roll-out of these initiatives are implemented.

Linner noted that, for the first time, the recently-released Canada Health Act Annual Report has gone out of its way to highlight the growth of private “[e]xecutive and primary health clinics that charge patients enrollment and annual membership fees” in five provinces, including Manitoba. The federal government has called on these governments to “develop legislation that is clear about patients’ access to insured services and which prohibits out-of-pocket charges to patients.”

“While we are heartened that the federal government has signalled concern about the rise of for-profit care, we are disappointed that this priority was not included in the main body of the health care funding negotiations,” said Linner. “It is up to Canadians and Manitobans to stand up and fight for public health care. We need to fix health care for Manitoba families, not privatize it for corporate profit.”