Innovative health care reform now — not privatization - Strong communities depend on it!

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OTTAWA — Strong communities depend on innovative health care reform, not privatization and profiteering, says Canada’s largest union as the first ministers’ meeting on health care begins.

Pointing to studies on privatization’s impacts in Canada and elsewhere, CUPE National President Paul Moist said the evidence is clear: private, for-profit health care is more expensive, of poorer quality and does nothing to reduce waiting lists in the public system. CUPE has documented over 90 major privatization initiatives since January 2003.

“CUPE members know how badly privatization is damaging the public health care system — they work its front lines,” Moist said. “Job cuts, funding cuts, contracting out — all of these strain the public system and create more problems than they fix.”

“Superbugs in hospitals, lower levels of care, tax dollars going into corporate pockets and more are the real cost of privatization,” Moist added.

The prime minister, premiers and territorial leaders should remember that the public interest depends on keeping health care a quality public service, CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Généreux said.

“Not one cent of taxpayers’ dollars can go to private profits,” Généreux said. “Any deal to fix the public system `for a generation’ must reject for-profit health care services.”

“We are waiting to see who at this meeting will stand up and defend public health care,” said Généreux. “You can be sure CUPE will take action. Is there a First Minister who is listening to Canadians and will stand with us?”

“You can’t build strong communities by privatizing one of our most basic rights — public health care,” Moist said. “Privatization is a false solution, pushed by greedy corporations on to a public worried about real answers.”

CUPE represents 140,000 workers in the health care sector. They play a crucial role in delivering quality, public health care to Canadians. With over 500,000 members, CUPE is fighting for public services and rebuilding strong communities across Canada.

The Hospital Employees' Union is the B.C. Health Services Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.