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Tories declare war on Medicare

By: 
Jesse McLaren

January 10, 2012

The Harper government unilaterally imposed a health care funding plan on the provinces, which after 2016 will be tied to economic growth in nominal GDP. This will translate into $21 billion in cuts to Medicare over 10 years.

Ever since a major grassroots mobilization won Medicare a generation ago, Liberal and Tory governments have been chipping away at federal funding—which used to be shared 50:50 with the provinces. Now the Harper government wants to accelerate this process through major funding cuts, claiming public health care is unsustainable and threatening other programs.

Cuts

But it is massive tax cuts, and cuts to other programs, that give public healthcare the appearance of taking up a larger portion of funding. Public health costs have been stable for a generation, but private costs like pharmaceuticals are out of control.

Instead of controlling costs through a national pharmacare program, the Tories are scapegoating Medicare to justify gutting it, while spending billions on prisons, tax cuts, bank bailouts and warfare—which they would never tie to economic growth in nominal GDP.

Defend Medicare

But the overwhelming majority of people continue to support public heath care. This majority must be mobilized to defend and expand Medicare, and stop the real threats to health care—austerity, corporate bailouts, ecological destruction and warfare.

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