Last Updated: Wednesday - 01/05/2011
November 12, 2001
Values backbone of good health care, says CHAC
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA — The Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada should not lose sight of the fundamental values that helped build Canada's health and social policy, says the Catholic Health Association of Canada.
"Any rethinking of the health care system in Canada requires a reaffirmation of the societal values that gave rise to the system," said the CHAC in a brief Oct. 30 to the commission, headed by former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow.
Such values, it said, "can provide direction in the current effort to build a more responsive and effective health care system."
The CHAC, the national voice for Catholic health care in Canada, also recommended "a change in the focus of the discussion from the marketplace toward a discussion of the core values that will make for a humane future, an equitable social order, and a quality health care system."
The commission is to present an interim report in January 2002. Its final recommendations are to be presented to the federal government in the fall of 2002.
The CHAC said in its brief that the environment for current health policy is driven almost exclusively by economics.
"When the basis of policy development is economics, it is not surprising that the implementation of such policy focuses on cutbacks, downsizing and withdrawal of services as a primary focus," it said.
Leo Klug, chair of the CHAC, said while health care services need to be restructured, "the way this has been done thus far has undermined care provider and public confidence."
The goals of the health care system for many Canadians "have become unclear and there is a growing sense of confusion and insecurity about the sustainability of our public, not-for-profit system and its ability to meet our needs in the future," Klug said.
The Canada Health Act reflects a set of values that Canadians have come to embrace as being important and in some way defines what it means to be Canadian, the brief said.
The principles of "universality, portability, comprehensiveness, accessibility, and public administration reflect fundamental communitarian values directed toward the common good," the brief stated.
The CHAC also outlined several of what it considers the most pressing health policy issues, including the importance of a universal drug care plan, the impact of international trade agreements on health care and the role of faith-based health care.
"The history of this country records the many ways in which the Church has contributed to the development of the health care system," said the brief.
"Today, this health ministry continues to bring values and ethics to bear on public policy considerations."
Sustaining a strong faith-based presence in health care, it added, "is particularly important in our society where contrary values such as individualism and consumerism constantly erode respect for the dignity of human life."
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