Liberal’s health report `a blueprint for cuts, privatization and offloading costs,’ says HEU

News release

Campbell government may act on some recommendations as early as Wednesday

The report of the Campbell government’s select standing committee on health “is an alarming blueprint for huge cuts in health care services, widespread privatization and offloading costs from government to individuals,” says Hospital Employees’ Union spokesperson, Zorica Bosancic.

“It’s a brazen attack on public Medicare and a clearly biased effort that’s designed to support the Campbell government’s reckless health care agenda,” says Bosancic, who added that it was cynical of Victoria to release the report at exactly the same time federal finance minister Paul Martin was unveiling his new budget.

And she says her union will redouble its efforts to protect health care services for British Columbians. “We’re already tackling a number of the issues raised in the report in health care facilities and communities across B.C. The future of Medicare is at stake, and our members will be fighting even harder to protect it.”

Bosancic said that HEU members and community groups concerned about public Medicare made dozens of presentations at the committee’s public hearings, but none of the solutions offered for progressive health care reform are contained in the report. “Our voices simply were ignored,” she said. “Instead the all-Liberal committee chose to rehash tired right-wing measures,” she said. “For example, the recommendations on privatization read like they were written by a private clinic owner,” she said. “This isn’t a made in B.C. solution, it’s a made by the Fraser Institute response.”

Bosancic says the call for user fees to be charged in certain circumstances and for higher medical premiums are deeply troubling. “Taken together with higher Pharmacare fees and delisting of chiropractors and physiotherapists brought in last week, and we see a government that is clearly trying to transfer health care costs to the individual.”

And she calls the recommendations for a huge reduction in the number of health authorities “a radical power grab by Victoria at the expense of community control and community input into health care decision-making.” HEU predicts that the Campbell government will act on these recommendations at the Wednesday cabinet meeting.