Manitoba Health Coalition To Premier Stefanson: “Stand Up For Medicare”

WINNIPEG (TREATY 1 TERRITORY AND HOMELAND OF THE RED RIVER METIS) - Following the revelation of Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s intention to dismantle public health care as we know it in Canada by forcing Albertans to pay out of pocket for services covered under medicare, the Manitoba Health Coalition (MHC) is calling on Premier Heather Stefanson to show leadership in her role as Chair of the Council of the Federation (COF) and denounce Smith’s proposals. The COF is currently in the midst of a well-publicized lobbying campaign to increase the share of federal funding to the provinces for health care - with no strings attached. 

“Premier Smith’s plans are a full-on attack on the principles of the Canada Health Act. As Chair of the COF, Premier Stefanson must stand up for Medicare,” said Thomas Linner, MHC Provincial Director. “Canadians deserve to hear the collective voice of their premiers denounce these proposals in the strongest possible terms and make clear that Medicare is not up for negotiation.”

In her paper published in June of 2021, Premier Smith states that the goal of her healthcare proposals is “to shift the burden of payment away from taxpayers and toward private individuals, their employers and their insurance companies” - in order to “change the conversation on health care.” She proposes that “the entire budget for general practitioners be paid for out of Health Spending Accounts.

In light of this, MHC is also calling on Premier Stefanson to show leadership on the national level and agree to increased accountability measures in exchange for increased federal funding for health care. MHC, along with health coalitions across Canada, continues to call for a new Health Accord which would include:

  • Increased health care federal funding from 22% to 35% as called for by the provincial and territorial governments
  • Clear federal requirements for the spending and reporting of those transfer funds
  • Strengthened monitoring and enforcement of the Canada Health Act

“Canadians need safeguards to protect medicare for exactly these moments, when ideologically-driven provincial leaders put public health care at risk,” said Linner. “Premier Stefanson is Chair of the COF. She must speak and act clearly in defence of Medicare at this crucial moment for Canada. All Canadians deserve access to health care, regardless of the size of their bank account.”