Advocating Public Universal Health Care

December 3, 2010, 5:00 PM EST

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Dr. Gordon Guyatt, professor at McMaster University and leader in evidence-based medicine, addressed hundreds of delegates at the CAW council meeting December 3 on the issue of universal health care sustainability.

Guyatt discussed Canada's current state of health care and informed CAW members on its position in comparison to European countries. Canada designates 70 per cent of its health care dollars to public expenditures, while 30 per cent is allocated to private costs. In France, 76 per cent of health care dollars are assigned to public expenses demonstrating that Canadian public expenditures relative to private are less than industrialized, wealthy countries.

"There aren't rising rates of cancer, but rising rates of cancer survivors," said Guyatt. "Costs are going up because we are doing more than ever before. We should be doing it on an equitable and efficient basis; we should be doing it on funded universal health care."

Americans allocate 32 cents of health care dollars to administrative purposes, while in the Canadian public system, those costs are essentially zero. Right wing activists insist that private funding will lead to shorter waiting times and more resources; although private funding will not finance training facilities and subsequently lead to a shortage of nurses and physicians.

"We do as well the United States spending half of what they do on health care," said Guyatt.  "A shift to private funding will not only result in decreased equity, but decreased efficency."

CAW National President Ken Lewenza announced that short form educational booklets based on Guyatt's universal healthcare presentation would be distributed to all local unions in the near future.

      *Written by Erica DiMaio, student in the Humber College Public Relations Certificate Program. 

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