Federal Election: The planks in CAPA’s election platform
September typically heralds a change of seasons but this year it could be more than the leaves that change colour as Canadians are asked to choose the party leader they think will best represent their values and become Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister. We are heading to the ballot boxes on October 14th.
With four (five if you live in Quebec) political parties vying for our votes, now is the time to convey arthritis priorities to those who will be responsible for making health care decisions. CAPA will focus on three priorities:
Access to Arthritis Care and Services
The federal government must renew its commitment to a national system of publicly funded, not-for-profit health care so that all Canadians have timely access to health care professionals and services when needed.
- Leadership is needed in Health Human Resource planning. Recruitment, training and retention of people in all areas of health care delivery is necessary to ensure the sustainability of a national public health care system that meets the needs of Canadians.
- Leadership and federal-provincial accountability are needed to address the wait-time guarantees for medically necessary services. The 2004 Health Care Accord commitment to wait-time guarantees has yet to be realized despite being listed as one of the Conservative government’s five priorities.
Access to Arthritis Medications
A National Pharmaceutical Strategy that includes a catastrophic drug plan is needed in Canada to ensure all people have affordable access to medications.
- Leadership and federal-provincial accountability is needed to address the First Minister’s commitment to a National Pharmaceutical Strategy that will ensure all Canadians have access to life-saving therapies.
- The federal government must continue its commitment to program development that addresses drug safety through a life cycle approach to medicines that makes timely and objective evidence-based decisions.
Arthritis Research Funding
Federal research funding for the Canadian Institute of Health Research - Institute for Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis must be restored to 2006 levels and increased.
- Investment in research is essential to determine the cause, cure, prevention and treatment of the over 100 different kinds of arthritis. Without it, people with arthritis and their family members will experience a persistent erosion of their quality of life, and arthritis will continue to be one of the greatest economic burdens on Canadian society.
- The CIHR 2005-2006 budget was $731,000,000.00 of which $3.7 million was allocated to arthritis research. With 4.5 million people in Canada diagnosed with arthritis, per person dollar allocation is 93 cents. This is a pitiful amount when the economic burden of arthritis, in terms of disability and treatment, is the costliest chronic disease in Canada.