Toronto: For 60 years The United Church of Canada has advocated in support of universal health care. Now the church is calling on its members to sign the Medicare Pledge launched by the Canadian Health Coalition, a public advocacy organization dedicated to the preservation and improvement of Medicare.
The Medicare Pledge is part of an ongoing campaign spearheaded by the coalition, of which the United Church is a member. In part, the pledge says that “quality health care must be based on need, not ability to pay” and that we “must improve our public health care for everyone, instead of expanding private for-profit services that benefit only a few.” So far over 10,000 Canadians and more than 100 organizations, including the United Church, have signed the pledge.
The United Church’s call for its members to sign the Medicare Pledge comes just days before a National Day of Action for a New Health Accord on March 31. The day of action coincides with the date that the current health accord between the federal government, the provinces, and the territories expires. Thus far, the federal government has refused to renegotiate the agreement.
The coalition argues that without a new health accord it will be impossible to ensure national health care standards across the country.
“Medicare is not something that Canadians should take for granted,” says The United Church of Canada’s Moderator, the Right Rev. Gary Paterson. “Signing the Medicare Pledge is one way to ensure that, for generations to come, the health care system that we have been privileged to enjoy is preserved and protected.”
For more than half a century, the United Church has supported the concept of universally accessible health care for all Canadians. In 1954, the church first endorsed the principle of a national health insurance plan, and urged all levels of government to move toward the establishment of such a plan. In 1994, it strongly affirmed its support for the core principles of Medicare: that Canada’s health care system remains universal, accessible, comprehensive, portable, and publicly administered.
To sign the Medicare Pledge go to http://medicare.ca/medicare-pledge .