Ms. Wendy Lill
I apologize, Mr. Speaker.
If the Prime Minister's 10 year health care plan is something that we should be taking seriously, we should have a look at his last 10 years of growing privatization and ignored innovation. That seems to me to be the record that we have to be taking to the people in the next few weeks in terms of an election.
I will return to the issue of home care for a minute because that is an issue that is critical to people in Dartmouth and in all of Nova Scotia.
Canadians made it very clear in the Romanow submissions that home care services were too important to be excluded from the definition of insured health services under the Canada Health Act. Much of the care that was once provided in a hospital or in physician's office has moved to a patient's home. The care is still medically necessary but is provided in a different setting.
Why do the Liberals think that type of care should not be covered, or worse, why do they think it should be provided by for profit businesses?
Statistics show that for profit delivery of health care, regardless of the setting, results in reduced outputs for the patients.
I want to read from the Romanow report. It states:
--a comprehensive analysis of the various studies that compare not-for-profit and for- profit delivery of services concluded that for-profit hospitals had a significant increase in the risk of death and also tended to employ less highly skilled individuals than did non-profit facilities
In his report, Roy Romanow called home care the next essential service. It is the fastest growing component of the health care system and provides comfort and independence to the people who use it. It costs less than equivalent care in a hospital or in a long term care facility while improving the care and quality of life of patients.
The NDP wants to implement a public non-profit system of home care based on the successful Manitoba model. Since care in a hospital can cost from $9,000 to $16,000 more per patient per year than community based home care, this plan makes economic sense.
In my role as NDP critic on the status of persons with disabilities, I have heard over and over how important our health care system is to persons with disabilities. Groups, such as the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, have asked for a national system of disability supports, including home care or support to help people with disabilities with their quality of life.
Right now, many people with disabilities cannot access adequate home support for their needs. In some provinces, home support is only available after an acute health emergency. People with disabilities literally have to be sick enough to go to a hospital before they can get any support in their homes, and then the home care only responds to the acute medical emergencies, not an ongoing disability.
In other provinces, there is a monetary limit to how much home care a person can use per month. People with a disability must pick and choose which services they will give up each month so that they do not go over their limit.
In other situations, access to home care is linked to eligibility for other programs. For example, someone who is injured at work can access a home care program as part of workman's compensation, while a young person with a disability who wants to live independently in his or her own home is not able to.
There are many startling examples of people with disabilities finding today's health care system insufficient to meet their needs. This is the true danger of a not for profit system of health care. People with disabilities are disproportionately poorer than other Canadians, so if for profit health care costs increase, it will affect them more than ever.
The NDP is very clear and passionate about its commitment to a not for profit, publicly delivered health care system which will include pharmacare and home care in its new evolution in the years going onward.
Topic: Government Orders