Dr. Colin McMillan, President of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), unveiled a new vision for an expanded and modernized Medicare to serve patients.
“The principle that all patients will have access to quality health care services based on need and not the ability to pay remains as important today as it was when Medicare was born over forty years ago,” said Dr. Colin McMillan.
“The CMA believes that we must now take that principle forward to meet the needs of a new generation.”
Dr. McMillan unveiled the new vision in a speech to the Rotary Club in Charlottetown today. He also released a new CMA policy document – Medicare plus : toward a sustainable publicly funded health care system in Canada – that outlines key steps for fulfilling the “next generation of Medicare”:
– Health Workforce Shortages: The ability to deliver timely access to care depends on having enough doctors, nurses and other health care professionals in the system. Right now, we do not. Governments need to be serious and must adopt a pan-Canadian planning approach to health human resources based on the goal of national self-sufficiency.
– Care When You Need it, Guaranteed: Governments are moving toward ensuring that Canadians can get the care they need, when they need it. The foundation of this effort is establishing wait time benchmarks or performance goals beyond the five clinical areas agreed to by governments in 2004. Patients must also have a guarantee that provides some recourse to get the care they need if their delay is too long. This may mean treatment outside of their place of residence without incurring any expenses to the patients.
– What’s Covered, What’s Not?: Right now, hospital and medical services are paid for with Canadian tax dollars. However, health care services are much more than that. Medicare must be modernized to recognize today and tomorrow’s new realities of care, realities like the growing demand for prescription drug therapies, long-term care and others.
“The CMA’s vision is about taking Canada’s greatest policy achievement of the last century and using it to meet the needs of the next,” McMillan said. “The CMA believes it is now time for our society to discuss, debate how to build a sustainable health care system that meets the needs of Canadians, and the next generation of Canadians.”
Polling conducted for the CMA by Ipsos-Reid and released today, shows that 62% of Canadians believe the CMA’s Medicare Plus is a ‘good plan’ for the future of Canada’s health care system. Canadians polled also agreed overwhelmingly with the need to address health workforce shortages.
Increasing the supply of doctors, nurses and other health professionals was the most popular element of the CMA plan as almost eight in ten Canadians said achieving that would increase their confidence in the future of the health care system.