May 30, 2017 3:32 pm

Ontario Health Coalition launches tour railing against privatization

Ontario Health coalition brings giant teddy bear on Medicare tour

Ontario Health coalition brings giant teddy bear on Medicare tour

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A giant teddy bear has made its first stop of 20, in Hamilton with the message: “we can’t bear to lose Medicare.”

It’s part of a tour across Ontario by the Ontario Health Coalition to raise awareness about what it calls the threat of privatization by for-profit clinics.

Executive Director, Natalie Mehra, says many of the clinics that have recently popped up across the country are charging thousands in user fees for medically-needed procedures that should be covered by tax dollars.

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“They’re starting to charge patients, mainly seniors, hundreds or even thousands of dollars in user fees for cataract surgeries, for MRIs or other diagnostic tests” said Mehra.

If the Medicare model meets its demise, Mehra fears that an equitable approach to care will go with it.

“People who can afford thousands or tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for surgeries and hospital care will get it, but all the resources will be pulled out of our local hospitals to serve the wealthy,” Mehra said.

Previous court challenges in provinces like Quebec, have argued that private clinics could help cut wait times.

Mehra contends it’s only a problem because of bed cuts and that more time should be spent mending the current system.

In the coming weeks, the Ontario coalition will not only be speaking about Medicare, it will also be raising funds to keep it in tact.

In B.C. the matter is before the Supreme Court and the coalition there is looking for support to intervene.

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