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Real political leadership needed for health, not just deal-making: CMA

With several provinces and territories cutting health financing side deals with the federal government, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) continues to push for a national and strategic approach to improving our health care system.

“The CMA is urging Canada's federal, provincial and territorial political leaders to focus on crafting a new national Health Accord to meet the needs of our growing and aging population, and to address the disparities that exist between provinces and territories,” said Dr. Granger Avery, the CMA president.

The foundation of this accord should be a measure the CMA calls a "demographic top-up" that would provide $1.6 billion in federal investment to support the innovation and transformation needed in provincial and territorial health systems to address the health needs of our senior population.

The amount of this investment is based on Conference Board of Canada calculations detailing the amount required for each province and territory to address the necessary increase in health care spending associated with an aging population.

Tens of thousands of people have written letters to politicians and have spoken out at roundtable meetings across the country. Many have also shared their personal – sometimes tragic – stories of how they, or someone they care for, are not getting the health care they need. They have said that it is essential that Canada renews and strengthens our 50-year-old system, to one that better meets the needs of seniors who are living longer, but with more complex and chronic conditions.

“The strength of a national approach is that it elevates discussion to improving health care in Canada, not just about the distracting debate on funding transfers between the levels of government,” said Dr. Avery. “It helps us focus upon the one overriding issue: What can we do to help Canadians get the care they need when and where they need it?”

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